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Licensing International UK Rising Star 2020 Nominees: Sarah Sullivan

We find out more about Forbidden Planet’s merchandise buyer and retail development coordinator.

Sarah Sullivan,

Merchandise Buyer and Retail Development Coordinator, Forbidden Planet

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

I joined Paperchase when I was 19 and worked my way up to assistant manager and then manager in the space of a few years. While working there I had a manager called Marites who noticed I had a real interest in stock packages and commercial development, so she really helped me develop my commercial experience and encouraged me to get my degree in buying. Not too long after I finished my BA I saw the role of merchandise buyer at Forbidden Planet advertised and, being a fan of comics and video games, it seemed like a great fit so I applied and was lucky enough to be offered the role.

How long in the industry?

Three years.

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

A lot of things but I think number one was a dog groomer.

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

There are so many people within the industry that inspire me, but I would have to say my manager Ruth Evans – she has been in the industry for some years and is always forward thinking, she is really passionate and has really nurtured my professional development.

Best thing about your current role?

I get to work with such fantastic people both at Forbidden Planet and within the industry in general – everyone is so passionate and I find that really inspiring. In general there’s lots of variety every day is different and you’re always thinking on your feet; it’s challenging but ultimately very rewarding.

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

The Pusheen parties we hosted at Forbidden Planet last year, especially the Valentine’s party which was all about loving yourself and self care – it was so much fun putting it all together and the reception from the fans was brilliant.

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

Sully from Monsters, Inc as we share a name and I’m a big softie, but I can be a little scary if I haven’t had my morning coffee!

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

I felt really honoured but also shocked, surprised and very excited.

Biggest lesson that you’ve learnt this year?

Plan for the unexpected!

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

Keep growing, developing and expanding my knowledge.

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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