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Super furry animals: How Battersea is making the transition to be a high street brand catches up with licensing manager, Warren Traeger to find out more on Battersea’s journey in the consumer products space.

While the heritage of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home spans over 160 years, it is still very young when it comes to its journey within the consumer products space.

Licensing sits within Battersea’s income generation division and is one of three commercial revenue streams, alongside corporate partnerships and the retail teams.

Warren Traeger, who took on the role of licensing manager in October 2021, explains: “This is great for us on the licensing side as it gives us a full overview of all revenue streams supporting Battersea so we can identify large scale opportunities, alongside quick wins.”

Battersea has enjoyed success in the greeting cards category.
Battersea has enjoyed success in the greeting cards category.

After launching a new style guide at the end of 2019, only for CP plans to fall by the wayside or be significantly delayed due to the pandemic, last year’s BLE marked the first time that the new look Battersea licensing programme was showcased to the industry, enabling it to be seen for the first time as a commercial family-focused lifestyle brand.

Warren says: “We were able to show examples of beautiful and fun product that was live in market, such as the M&S DTR gift range, accessories and gifts and cards, stationery and calendars, all targeted to the enormous population of dog and cat loving humans. Alongside these were some of our first pet products including new pet beds, toys, ceramic-ware and our very successful ice cream for dogs by the amazing team at Jude’s.”

Working with The Point.1888, Battersea is now busy with approvals for product due to launch in 2023. Warren continues: “In particular, the expansion of products for pets is going to be very exciting to see with new licensee Amber House on petcare – which is currently being tested by our Battersea groomers on some of our residents – and also a brilliant range of car safety and travel accessories by Saxon.”

Ceramic-ware was among the first pet products to launch.
Ceramic-ware was among the first pet products to launch.

In addition, Warren believes that there is a lot of untapped potential in publishing. “Home and gifts are also areas where there is always something new and interesting that can be added to the programme,” he continues. “Two categories I would personally love to crack are home fragrance and garden products. As an owner of two dogs, while I won’t have a bad word said against them, I am all too aware of challenges of walking into the home and it smelling ‘doggy’. We spend a lot of money on fragranced candles, diffuser sticks, room sprays, etc and I would love to work with someone to develop the best pet odour neutralising range.

“Additionally, as a keen gardener, I love that synergy the world of horticulture and pets has. Whether accessorising the garden, creating dog or cat sensory areas or planting pet friendly plants for either calming or stimulation purposes, outdoor spaces are an integral part of our pets’ lives.”

The launch of Jude's ice cream for dogs has been a huge hit.
The launch of Jude's ice cream for dogs has been a huge hit.

Of course, the values of any partners also need to align with those of Battersea, as Warren explains: “Working with partners who want to work with us, value what Battersea does and also see the vision of what the brand could be is essential. At the moment we are a small commercial opportunity against the giants of the licensing industry, but post pandemic our UK pet population has never been as big as it is.

“With over four million more dogs and cats than in 2019, over 50% of UK households owning a pet and over 40% of new pet owners in the last two years aged 18-34, the landscape is changing significantly and never has there been a better time for Battersea to be a high street brand.”

Warren continues: “We want to work with partners who want to create products that are relevant and serve a practical purpose in the life of pet owners, with the trust and expertise that the Battersea brand is known for, as well as beautifully designed, fun and desirable products that share our love and joy of dogs and cats. As much as we are a brand with purpose, we want products with purpose.”

On top of this, there is also an educational element, with Warren explaining that he would like to combine training and advice into the products. “We are looking at a new piece of work integrating content into pet products for next year, for example, when you buy a shampoo, linking it to content on our site as to the safest way to shampoo your dog,” he says. “We have a wealth of content that will add huge value to consumers and ensure that our work is truly benefiting every dog and cat.”

Battersea is now busy with approvals for product launching in 2023.
Battersea is now busy with approvals for product launching in 2023.

Key deals

“An area I am very excited about is softlines and believe that clothing and accessories will be a huge opportunity for Battersea,” says Warren. “Dogs and cats are a huge theme in this category and there is an ever-growing trend for human and pet co-ordinated products.”

Alongside Drew Pearson on accessories, Battersea has signed Bro Global as its apparel licensee developing both kids and adult daywear and nightwear. It will also be introducing two additional accessories licensees – Cityfax on socks and hosiery, plus Meller Design for a broad range of softlines as well as jewellery, cufflinks and pin badges.

In the publishing category, Welbeck will be launching two puzzle books for Christmas, while the autumn will see the first of several crafting projects launching with Practical Publishing across Crochet Now, Inspired to Create, Creative Stamping and Knit Now magazines.

This feature originally appeared in the autumn 2022 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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