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Licensing International UK Rising Star 2020 Nominees: Naomi Smith

We find out more about Mattel’s senior licensing associate.

Naomi Smith,

Senior Licensing Associate, Mattel



My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

I joined Mattel and entered the world of licensing as an intern in 2014 – I was studying BA Hons Marketing and I joined Mattel between my second and third years. After graduating I spent a year working with a charity before joining the amazing David Born at Born Licensing where I experienced the world of licensing within the advertising and marketing industry. I was then invited to re-joined Mattel in 2018 working in the UK & EMEA licensing team on hardlines.

How long in the industry?

Nearly four years now.

When I was growing up, I had no idea that ‘licensing’ was an industry, so I wanted to be…

I had many career aspirations growing up, from wanting to be a teacher one minute then an architect, designer, marketer, to maybe even a lawyer!

Reflecting on this now, I actually touch elements of most of these in my role. I get to work with our fabulous creative team and licensees to design amazing product, look at all the contracts, oversee marketing plans but I picked the right career for me in the end.

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

It’s hard to choose someone when the industry as its full of so many. I have learnt something from everyone whether a licensee, fellow licensor, past colleagues to my current team of amazing colleagues/friends.

But, if I had to pick one I would say, Helen Genia, my manager. Right from the start as an intern Helen has supported and guided me I have learnt so much from her and continue to do so.

Best thing about your current role?

The best thing about my role currently is working with amazing partners in multiple categories. Better yet, we get to do this with some awesome brands including; Barbie, Thomas, Fireman Sam, Scrabble, Uno, the list goes on!


What are you most proud of within your licensing career to date?

There has been lots over the years. This year saw me complete the Coursework in Licensing Studies Programme with Licensing International and qualify as a Qualified Licensing PR actioner. But my proudest moment would be working on the Master of The Universe MoneySuperMarket campaigns both at Born Licensing and also at Mattel.

Licensed character you can most identify with (and why)?

Thomas – he’s super cheeky and happy while always striving to be a really useful engine! I love to help anyone and am normally the first to put my hand up to support the team.


What were your first thoughts when you were revealed as a nominee for the Licensing International UK Rising Star Award?

Honestly gobsmacked! I had no idea that my fabulous team had nominated me it is truly amazing. It’s an honour to be nominated alongside so many amazing individuals in the industry.

Biggest lesson that you’ve learnt this year?

What a year this has been – we have all learnt so much about ourselves as well as our business from pivot plans to supporting colleagues and partners and, while the virtual world is brilliant and allows us to do so much, you really can’t beat in person meetings, the office environment and all the industry events where you get to see partners and friends from the licensing world and hope that we can return to this in the future.

The adage goes, once you enter the licensing industry, you never really leave… what are your short-term goals for your career in licensing?

It’s certainly true, once you start a career in the licensing world there is no turning back and I really enjoy it so I have no intention of going anywhere else. I want to carry on developing my career at Mattel in the licensing team as I love the brands and the people I work with and we have so much more we can do.

The Licensing International UK Rising Star award will be presented as part of The Licensing Awards, which take place virtually on Wednesday December 16. The awards are free to attend – simply click on this link to register.

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