“It’s so lovely that licensed publishing made the list” says Egmont UK’s associate publisher.
Associate Publisher, Egmont UK
My route into the licensing industry went something like this…
It was a happy accident, to be honest! I joined R.H. Smith and Sons (Smiffy’s) as a graduate trainee in 2011 and ended up as a product range manager there, doing bits and pieces to support their licensing team. I then managed to land a licensing executive role with Penguin Random House a few years later, not really believing that I’d be paid to talk about cartoons and books all day! PRH introduced me to character publishing and left me in awe of all the lovely things they do with their classic children’s brands, so when I was asked to brand manage Mr Men and Little Miss by Egmont in 2016 I couldn’t say no.
How long in the industry?
5-ish years this year.
When I was growing up, I had no idea that ‘licensing’ was an industry, so I wanted to be…
Oh, so many things… an astronaut, an actress, a dancer in the parade at Disneyland, a spy, a fashion designer… I would have been rubbish at all of those, so I’m very pleased I found publishing.
Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?
The whole Egmont brands team is completely brilliant and so passionate about what they do. Every editor, designer and publisher in the team knows their brands inside out and create beautiful books. The work they put in inspires me every day. Our books business is overseen by our commercial director, Sarah Bates, who started out as a brand manager and is a fantastic champion for the licensed publishing in Egmont and beyond. And I also get to work with some brilliant licensors; their drive for their brands to do more and reach wider audiences pushes me to keep innovating.
Best thing about your current role?
I get to nurture and grow two of the UK’s best-loved classic book properties: Mr Men Little Miss and Thomas the Tank Engine. They have a combined publishing heritage of 120 years between them and looking after brands people have such a deep connection with is terrifying and thrilling in equal parts.
What are you most proud of within your licensing career to date?
I started my current role determined to launch some adult parody titles for Mr Men Little Miss, and to publish something which inspired and excited little girls. By November 2017 we’d published four titles in the Mr Men for Grown-ups series and on International Women’s Day 2018 we published Little Miss Inventor. I’m so proud of both projects – the Grown-ups books are genuinely hilarious, but completely true to the brand, and Little Miss Inventor’s career as a female STEM icon is just getting started. Oh, and Dave Benson Phillips flashed up in the ‘people you may know’ section of my Linkedin once!
Licensed character you can most identify with (and why)?
Winnie the Pooh: I’m always on the lookout for a smackerel of something, and I invariably wake up looking forward to breakfast.
What were your first thoughts when you were revealed as a nominee for the LIMA UK Rising Star Award?
Really chuffed and humbled. It’s so lovely that licensed publishing made the list.
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 keep innovating and bringing my brands to new readers and audiences. I’m deep in 2020 planning right now, so I’d love to see some of my more ambitious ideas come off.
The LIMA UK Rising Star award will be presented as part of The Licensing Awards, which take place on Tuesday September 11 at The Grosvenor Hotel, London.