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Licensing International UK Rising Star 2023 Nominees: Rakhee Ghelani finds out more about this year’s UK Rising Star nominees. Today, Universal Products & Experiences’ category manager beauty and care, Rakhee Ghelani.

Rakhee Ghelani, category manager beauty and care, Universal Products & Experiences


My route into licensing went something like this…

During Covid times, I wasn’t sure where I wanted my career to go – I had a few life changes, and I wasn’t sure what was next. I saw a role appear at NBCUniversal and naively thought it was a beauty buying role which was my background. When I spoke to the recruitment team, I was introduced to the world of licensing and it just completely clicked – it was all my favourite parts of my role and then some; it was the change I was looking for. From that day and beyond, it’s been magical.

How long in the industry?

I have been in the licensing industry for 2.5 years – I joined during the pandemic, and it has been a very enjoyable whirlwind.

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

A Blue Peter presenter. The summer expeditions inspired me to travel, and the fact that they got to explore so many different festivals, events and places around the UK and the world, and I loved making a Blue Peter craft project. I really wanted to do this, too.

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

During my time working in beauty retail, I remember the launch of the Urban Decay Game of Thrones palette – we used to get a lot of product to review for launch but this was one of the more exciting reveals. It was crazy how many people across the business came to our small beauty area to check out the collaboration, and it was fascinating to see all the different departments that wouldn’t usually stop by that got excited by the collaboration – the organic traction across stores and online and, looking back, it shows the power of licensing and the emotional connection you feel, and I’m so overjoyed to be part of this.

Best thing about your current role?

I love that I get to see a project through from start to finish – there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you initiate a conversation and then see it come to life, and at the same time interact with every single part of the company along the way. I like that I get to be part of every process and interact with so many people across the whole project.

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

Working with the LUSH team. In my first week at Universal Products & Experiences, LUSH was one of the top brands that I really wanted to partner with – and I remember reaching out to them and having initial conversations even though they hadn’t done any licensing before. It took a while and we had several conversations, but from the moment we decided to green light on a partnership with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, every meeting we had was just so exciting. I really couldn’t wait for it to come to life. We worked so closely together, and it was so fun to work together as a true partnership.

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

I would say I relate to Fiona from Shrek – I like that she’s still finding herself but also is such a strong female presence who is breaking boundaries.

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

I was so shocked and honoured. I have really enjoyed the last 2.5 years and it really is because I work with such incredible individuals. I’ve can’t express how much I love being part of the licensing industry and I am so thrilled to see where it will go next.

The Licensing Awards 2023 takes place on Tuesday 12 September at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

Tickets and tables can be reserved quickly and securely online by visiting or by contacting Clare Hollick at Create Events: or +44 (0)1183 340085.

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