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LIMA UK Rising Stars: Sophie Yates

We round off the week by chatting to Bulldog’s licensing co-ordinator.

Sophie Yates,

Licensing co-ordinator, Bulldog Licensing

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

Having studied English Literature at University I wanted to work in publishing and started at Egmont as a marketing assistant. It was there that I was introduced to licensing, working on brands such as Mr Men and Star Wars, and I progressed to my role at Bulldog.

How long in the industry?

Nearly two years.

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

A spy (my sister and I were obsessed with the TV show Alias when we were younger). I even applied for a job at MI5 once. Sadly didn’t get it. Or did I..?

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

I don’t think I could say just one person. Everyone at Bulldog, and in fact the industry, has their own experiences and knowledge and there’s always something new to learn. It’s an industry of people who know how to work hard and play hard. I will happily follow their lead on both of these things.

Best thing about your current role?

I’m lucky to be able to work across all sides of the business and with every member of staff – from initial conversations with licensees, to deals being signed, through the approval process, onto retail and even occasionally with finance.

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

Every time I’ve organised a licensee day I’ve felt – partly relieved that nothing went wrong – but also proud that I accomplished it having no event experience before joining Bulldog. Also, completing the mammoth task of inputting all our deals information onto our new system which took a lot of time, a lot of concentration and hard work. I now worry when anyone else uses it that they’re going to do something wrong and ruin my masterpiece! Oh and designing a Garfield Cat Advent Calendar because our licensee’s designer was unavailable – look for it in stores this Christmas.

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

I passed this over to my colleagues for suggestions. One was the Rugrats – though it depends on the environment/situation I’m in as to which I’m more like. I can be bossy like Angelica (particularly when people don’t follow the processes we have in place for contracts/approvals), a massive scaredy cat like Chuckie (when I get dragged onto a rollercoaster in Blackpool) or calm and in control of a situation like Tommy (generally most days at work).
Sole also suggested that I was like Garfield. Apparently because of my sarcastic sense of humour, not because I like lasagne….

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

I was surprised, but flattered, that my colleagues nominated me and that I was selected as a finalist despite not being long in the industry. I look forward to a great and fun evening with my fellow nominees.

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

To keep learning from the great team I have around me, decide which area of the business I would like to focus on more permanently and grow my role in that area. We’ve signed to represent some great new brands recently and it’ll be exciting to work on them and to see how they progress.

The LIMA UK Rising Star award will be presented as part of the Licensing Awards, which take place on Tuesday September 12 at The Grosvenor Hotel, London.

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