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LIMA UK Rising Stars: Sarah Patel

Nickelodeon’s retail marketing executive is the next nominee in the hot seat.

Sarah Patel,

Retail Marketing Executive, Nickelodeon

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

I started my journey as work experience for Nickelodeon in the art department before becoming a television runner at ITV, but swiftly learnt that freelance wasn’t as fun as it seemed. I then made the transition into marketing for luxury haircare brand Vidal Sassoon and had the most incredible experience. From there I went onto brand, product and retail marketing for Superdrug, Toni & Guy and Arcadia before finally coming over to Nickelodeon. So although it was a broad and varied path that finally brought me into the world of licensing, I have managed to come full circle and end up at the brand I started with.

How long in the industry?

Just under two years so far.

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

A number of different things to be honest; I used to dream about either working on an oil rig, being a farmer in Ireland, an artist or an animal conservationist in Africa.

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

My biggest inspiration comes from luxury brands and artists that use licensing in unusual and interesting ways to further their appeal. Liberty stand out as an iconic brand that I have so much respect for as they stay true to their heritage, but use the iconic print in new fashion-forward ways with the likes of Dr Martens and Nike to appeal to new consumers. Likewise, the Andy Warhol Foundation have taken his original screenprints and brought to life the world of consumerism that he emulated in his art through licensed products. In a way, they have excelled at making new forms of art… a clever and interesting way to continue a brand’s legacy.

Best thing about your current role?

With the broad number of properties that we have, every project is different and from a marketing perspective it keeps the role interesting. From working on unique one-off launch campaigns such as the HYPE X SpongeBob collection to organising our annual partner day or getting to work at events like the recent Slimefest over the weekend, there is never a quiet moment. I am also lucky to be surrounded by a really dedicated team who definitely help to make the role special.

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

Working on our largest yearly retail campaign, ‘Everyone’s A Winner’ with Argos is one of the busiest times for us, and for a second year now, at least for me, seeing the campaign live in store, the TV adverts on air and the results come through make it one of the most rewarding moments of the year. It’s a huge team effort as the campaign touches so many different teams within Nickelodeon and there is a real sense of achievement behind it.

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

I adore Lily from Lily’s Driftwood Bay as she sums up everything I love about art, nature and the beauty of having a creative imagination. I also have a strong connection to Helga from Hey Arnold as she knows how to work a pair of brows, a look that is very close to my heart.

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

Initially quite shocked, but really excited for the awards and thankful to be nominated.

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

As you might be able to tell, I’m really passionate about brands and how they are utilised in the licensing industry and I’m excited for future opportunities at Nickelodeon given the extensive and growing range of properties within our portfolio. With so many incredible launches coming up, it’s a lovely company to be with.

The LIMA UK Rising Stars award will be presented as part of the Licensing Awards, which take place on Tuesday September 13 at The Grosvenor Hotel, London.

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