The Licensing Q&A… with Mark Tomlin

We delve into the licensing life of Somerbond’s director of licensing.

Mark Tomlin,

Director of licensing, Somerbond

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

I joined the Government Enterprise Allowance scheme in 1986 and brought fabric from Brick Lane to make boxer shorts. I then opened a factory in Luton employing 100 people – we started selling our own designs to Sock Shop and Tie Rack which expanded into licensed character. The first licensed character we used was Desperate Dan followed by Mr Men, Thunderbirds and The Simpsons.


How many years in the industry?

I think about 25 years since I worked with my first licensed property.

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

I went to catering college and started life as a chef. I ran a restaurant before leaving to travel around Europe. These plans were halted when the boxer short sales took off.


The deal I am most proud of is…

I’m proud of many of the deals I have achieved, from The Simpsons to South Park and Coca-Cola. Licensing never stays still, it continues to inspire and excite. Always new challenges and opportunities.

My most interesting experience in licensing has been…

I can’t pick out one interesting experience. I actually think it’s the people you meet that makes this industry so interesting. Never a dull moment.


The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is…

You have only failed when you stop trying.


If I wasn’t in licensing, I would be…

I think I would have liked to have pursued my love for cooking food.


Who do you admire most in the industry (and why)?

I have been very privileged to work with so many people I admire. If I have to call one it would be Angela Farrugia. I had the great pleasure of working with Angela prior to my introduction into licensing. It was a later meet when she joined CPL that she introduced me to this wonderful family. Angela is an amazing inspiration.


In a film of your life, which licensed character would play you?

That would be Austin Powers, mainly the big glasses I think. Not the teeth. But ‘Danger’ is actually my middle name.

If I could change anything about the industry, it would be…

We live in a very disposable society. Wouldn’t it be great if we paid a little more, but desired and valued our purchases…

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