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Licensing International UK Rising Stars: Sebastian Mather

The founder and director of shares his journey in licensing.

Sebastian Mather,

Founder and Director,

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

I founded in 2013, initially selling football wall stickers which were unlicensed and made to order for children’s bedrooms. After three years and slow progress I realised there was a bigger opportunity; rather than just creating our own designs we could work with each football club to create an official range of products and be given full access to all club, stadium and players assets – in addition there was no licensee in the UK making licensed wall stickers with football clubs.

I first approached Manchester City FC in October 2016 and they became our first official licensed football club. We created a range of over 30 products including players products, stadium wall stickers and personalised options, all of which were available in a number of sizes and printed on demand. The range was an instant hit!

Over the next 24 months we went on to license over 30 further football clubs from across the UK. Following this success, and becoming recognised as the place to go to create the ultimate football bedroom, we set our sights on growing the business into the character and children’s entertainment brands market. We agreed our first licensing deal outside of sport in September 2018 with Penguin Random House for Peter Rabbit Classic and TV.

We now have over 1,000 officially licensed wall sticker products available from over 50 brands all of which are licensed directly by us and are exclusively designed, printed to order and dispatched by our in-house production and team in the UK.

Within the next eight weeks we will be launching new licensed ranges for: Aston Villa FC, Team GB, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, PJ Masks, Fast & Furious Franchise, Kung Fo Panda, Curious George, Where’s Wally, Shrek and Masha and the Bear.

How long in the industry?

I agreed our first licensing contract in October 2016.

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

I grew up with an interest in Art and Design, and wanted to be an architect.

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

Danny and Mark Schweiger at Character World and Nikki Samuels at Sambro. As a Manchester-based business ourselves, I’m in awe of what they have built and I’d be delighted to achieve even a tiny fraction of what they have in the licensing industry.

Best thing about your current role?

My current role has allowed me to travel all over the UK, and to different parts of the world. I have visited over 30 football grounds across the UK for meetings and I’ve also held meetings with licensors in London, Manchester, New York, Bristol, Newcastle and Edinburgh. In addition, I’ve been able to visit licensing expos and showcase events across the globe.

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

I am a lifelong Manchester United fan, after many meetings which spanned over two years and it was a huge achievement for me to finally become an official licensee with them in November 2018.

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

Peter Rabbit – he has a love of adventure, he’s also brave, mischievous, resilient, clever, and a tenacious little rabbit. Just like in business, he’s often in and out of danger in his majestic world and needs all of his special qualities to succeed.

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

I was delighted to be nominated for the award. After years of hard work and investing all of our resources into licensing with football clubs and character brands, it is a huge honour to be nominated for the award.

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

I have met so many amazing people in the licensing industry who have really helped us get to where we are today, so my main goal is to maintain and build on those relationships within the industry. We also hope to grow our portfolio further and innovate new products, allowing us to become recognised as the leader for wall art products in the UK.

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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