We find out more about Roald Dahl Story Company’s licensing and design director.
Licensing and Design Director, the Roald Dahl Story Company
My route into the licensing industry went something like this…
I was working as a freelance graphic designer in 2012 when I was offered two jobs at the same time, coincidentally both in the licensing industry; one as graphic designer for a licensee, and one as brand coordinator for Sanrio’s Mr Men Little Miss brand. Although it was a slight step away from what I was trained in, I went with my instincts to take the Mr Men job and I haven’t looked back since. I was promoted to brand manager there, and then in 2015 I joined the Roald Dahl Story Company as licensing manager. I was promoted to licensing and design director just over a year ago.
How long in the industry?
Almost 6 years.
When I was growing up, I had no idea that ‘licensing’ was an industry, so I wanted to be…
An apparel graphic designer and before that, a backing dancer on Top of the Pops. Dream big!
Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?
My industry inspiration doesn’t necessarily come from one person, but from seeing the many ingenious ways that brands, licensees and retailers harmoniously collaborate together on a new product concept. Licensed brand partnerships always pique my interest, such as Crayola x Clinique, Vans x Van Gogh and Lazy Oaf x Hello Kitty. I love seeing brands reimagined through the eyes of those they partner with.
Best thing about your current role?
How much variety there is. I single-handedly look after the global licensing for Roald Dahl here at the Story Company and manage every step of bringing a product to shelf from signing a licensee to retail sell-in. This covers a huge array of responsibilities across both creative and commercial – which suits me perfectly. I look also manage our in-house design team of two. I find it hugely rewarding to be able to flip-flop between design and creative, licensing strategy and retail. A different hat for every day of the week.
What are you most proud of within your licensing career to date?
I am particularly proud of the Roald Dahl BFG x Bloom and Blossom children’s toiletries collaboration that launched in March this year. Bloom and Blossom promote a sleep-inducing Bath, Book and Bedtime routine that the partnership couldn’t be more perfect in supporting. The BFG’s dream catching pillow spray is one of those products that makes perfect licensing sense and working with the B&B team has been really collaborative. The BFG range is getting lots of nice recognition, having just been awarded Platinum at the Junior Design Product Awards and shortlisted for Best New Product at the Grocer awards in October.
We’ve also got an exciting new range launching together next month, which I can’t wait to see on shelf!.
Licensed character you can most identify with (and why)?
I think the character I identify with most is Little My from Moomins. To take from her biography ‘Little My always wants to decide things for herself. Mess and untidiness don’t bother her at all: in fact, life is more exciting that way’. I’ll let you imagine what my desk looks like!
What were your first thoughts when you were revealed as a nominee for the LIMA UK Rising Star Award?
I was really surprised, as I didn’t know that I had been put forward for it! It feels great to be recognised in the licensing industry, and to have this nomination as an accolade to my career. I am super proud to be a part of it.
The adage goes, once you enter the licensing industry, you never really leave… what are your short-term goals for your career in licensing?
My short-term goals are to continue growing the Roald Dahl licensing programme, globally. The brand is on a real upward trajectory, and I feel like there has been some fantastic retail activity over the last couple of years which I want to push further. There’s still so much that can be done.
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.