LIMA UK Rising Stars: Talia Tester

Find out more about the six award nominees, starting with Carte Blanche’s licensing manager.

Talia Tester,

Licensing Manager, Carte Blanche Greetings

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

Like most people, I had no idea the industry existed until I was in it so I kind of fell into it by chance. I started working in admin and sales support at Bonnier Publishing when I left university and after a year or so moved into being their licensing executive to support their growing portfolio of licenses. This was my first experience of licensing and I started making good connections and learning the ropes. From there I was promoted to licensing manager and really started to grow my network within the industry, which is when I first started working with CBG. I feel very fortunate to have been on both sides of the fence as both a licensee and licensor to date.

How long in the industry?

4 wonderful years so far.

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

A criminal psychologist (this was my ‘TV crime drama phase’), a lawyer (my argumentative phase – some say that never left) and finally a professional backing dancer (my ‘travel the world with Justin Timberlake’ phase).

Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?

I truly admire anyone who starts up their own company or agency in this industry, as it can’t be easy being up against some of the long-established powerhouses. Also the veterans who have been in this game a long time, they helped shape and raise awareness of this huge industry and make it the innovative and thrilling place it is today.

Best thing about your current role?

The fact that no day is the same. I get to work on so many great projects with so many different teams of wonderful people – I often catch myself in the middle of a task and can’t quite believe I get paid to have this much fun day to day. I am also grateful that my company trusts me to work on such a classic, evergreen and well-loved brand.

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

One would have to be signing a publishing deal for Shopkins with Vicky Hill at Bulldog before the dizzy heights of its current success hit. I knew the brand would be a fantastic one. More recently, I have signed a food gifting deal for Me to You with Kimm & Miller and I can’t wait for you all to see the products. I’m excited every time I get a new concept through – it’s going to be a great year for us both next year!

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

I would have to say Belle from Beauty & the Beast. Like her I am a huge book lover and would give anything to have the library that she has in the film (especially that sliding ladder). I would like to think that like Belle I am ambitious, adventurous and never take something for face value and always look for the beauty within. Finally, I have the yellow Belle dress and am looking for another reason to wear it.

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

Considering the calibre of other young professionals that I know within the industry, my first thought was very much ‘Wow! Really?’. But I was also very honoured and humbled that my lovely team at CBG and my boss Sarah Quigley felt that I was a potential Rising Star.

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 certainly never want to leave! I would love to take on an even more senior role, pull off a fantastic retail campaign, sign a deal that surprises but delights consumers, and grow my network even further to continue working with all of you brilliant people out there. I’d better get a move on actually…

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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