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Licensing International UK Rising Stars: Laura Lane

We find out more about the founder and creative director of My Icon Story.

Laura Lane

Founder and creative director, My Icon Story

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

Since starting my business My Icon Story, licensing has become my new found love because of the innovation and creativity it offers. I spent nearly seven years in the advertising and media industry prior to my business, so licensing was something I knew very little about.

My route into licensing began about two years ago when I attended my first BLE. I was blown away by the scale of opportunity and instantly knew that licensing would be a smart gateway for My Icon Story; to come face to face with the world’s greatest brands and simultaneously attract new audiences and customers to my business.

Having signed five licensing deals in the space of six months and developed some fantastic branded product ranges, I know that if things didn’t go to plan with business I would without a doubt want to continue a career in licensing. Innovation and creativity doesn’t start with advertising campaigns, it starts with the brands, their product innovations and complementary collaborations.

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

My biggest inspiration – as cliche as it might sound – is my mum, Barbara Robinson. She pioneered the first licensing role at Mothercare – starting from scratch and building her reputation and knowledge within the licensing industry. She is my greatest supporter and has introduced me to so many amazing people in the industry. I also couldn’t answer this without mentioning Ian Downes, md of Start Licensing. My route into licensing would not have been the same without Ian. Since day one he has given me great advice, brought a constant stream of enthusiasm and ideas for My Icon Story and has opened some fab licensing opportunities for me.

Best thing about your current role?

As solo founder, I wear every hat, play every role and make all the decisions. Coming up with ideas for new brand collaborations and products however is without a doubt the most exciting and rewarding, especially when those brands believe in the products I’ve created and really get behind them. I love being able to apply My Icon Story’s iconic handwriting to present brands in a contemporary and alternative fashion, whether enabling personalisation or bringing the story and heritage of a brand to life in a way that attracts new audiences.

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

With so many heritage and pioneering brands in the licensing world, My Icon Story is a small fish in a big big ocean. Since signing my very first license agreement with Transport for London, this year I have negotiated and secured four more (Spirit of Concorde, Natural History Museum, Love Hearts and our first international brand NYC & Company), developing, launching and supporting a new product range for each. I honestly can’t believe how much I have done and pinch myself that these amazing brands want to collaborate with me and My Icon Story. I also had to turn down my first big opportunity of being stocked in a national retailer. It was hard to say no because as a start-up every opportunity is like a lifeline, but I’m proud of my decision to walk away.

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

30% Little Miss Somersault, 30% Little Miss Busy, 40% Little Miss Inventor – because you’re never just one Little Miss character and this relates to something exciting I am developing with Sanrio…

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

Who nominated me…? Followed by “there’s no way I’ll win” but it gives me an excuse to buy a new dress, get my hair blowdried and make-up done … oh and I can’t wear those new slingback shoes in case I do win and have to walk up without them slipping off. Who doesn’t love an awards evening!

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

To win a licensed product award at the Brand & Lifestyle/Licensing Awards. Get at least one of my licensed product ranges stocked with a large retailer. Have my own My Icon Story icons licensed by another brand.

The Licensing International UK Rising Star award will be presented as part of The Licensing Awards, which take place on Tuesday September 10 at The Grosvenor Hotel, London.

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