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The Licensing Q&A… with Richard Radford

We delve into the licensing life of Centum Books’ group sales director.

Richard Radford,

Group Sales Director, Centum Books

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

Like many people in our industry, it sort happened by accident. After many months (and beers), I was eventually persuaded to join Roy Lowe & Sons, who at the time didn’t produce any licensed products. Not long after I joined, and after a severe increase in capacity that needed filling, it was decided to venture into licensing, so I sort of fell into it by default.

How many years in the industry?

17.

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

Either a forensic scientist or more latterly a (sports) physiotherapist – though after spectacularly cocking up my A levels, neither profession remain viable.

The deal I am most proud of is…

Probably Harry Potter, because at the time, given the age of the company it was a real coup. It established the company as a serious player (yes, I do mean Roy Lowe, and serious). It was a real door opener for us.

My most interesting experience in licensing has been…

In those suits, there have been many, but I guess the story of getting kicked out of The Light Fund Quiz, at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, dressed as a naughty schoolboy is always a crowd pleaser. As is the Las Vegas prostitute ‘incident’.

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

Never knock the opposition, as you never know when you may be working for them.

If I wasn’t in licensing, I would be…

Serious knee injuries aside, I’d like to think professional rugby player, however, back in the real world, a professional rugby supporter is probably closer.

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

Good question. Probably because certain aspects of our industry allow and indeed support it, those people who have what in other industries would be a classed as a ‘silly idea’. They then have to have the tenacity and drive when others are laughing at them, or to try and keep a straight face when trying to garner support (usually from a bank manager) and they then turn that ‘silly idea’ into a commercial success.

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

For some reason Ron Weasley [played by Rupert Grint] springs to mind, I can’t think why.

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

I appreciate in certain scenarios a DTR is the best solution for a getting a property or product to market. That said, a number of licensors are too quick to play that card and in many cases the rug is unnecessarily pulled from under a hard working licensee.

It wouldn’t be the first time that it’s only when a property becomes a relative success a DTR is even discussed. If it wasn’t for those licensees taking the risk early doors, or when no one else is interested, or even those investing a huge amount of time, effort and money, many properties wouldn’t reach a profile big enough to attract the attention of some retailers in the first place.

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