Source finds out more on Lucy’s RMP experience and how she has used her learnings to improve TruffleShuffle’s own licensing programme.
How much knowledge did you have about the world of licensing before the Retail Mentoring Programme?
TruffleShuffle holds many licences; being involved with the product development in the early design stages for our own brand tees and giftware meant I was aware of some of the processes and considerations involved when creating licensed merchandise. I have also been buying licensed product from third party suppliers for quite a few years, which gave me some exposure to the differences when producing licensed vs generic products.
What was the most beneficial thing you learnt from the Retail Mentoring Programme?
It was really interesting to see things from the brand owner perspective and learn better how to communicate, that you make the most of their assets and marketing opportunities (which often ramp up around key dates such as movie releases or anniversaries), in order to create unique product and reach genuine fans of the license, particularly at peak times of interest. I also gained a better understanding of writing up contracts and royalties.
Do you still work in licensing? If so, how have you implemented your RMP learnings into your own licensing programme and what difference has that made?
Yes, I still work for TruffleShuffle. I work more specifically on third party product, still with some design input into our own brand ranges and custom product. Since the Retail Mentoring Programme, I have negotiated contracts with new brand owners and renewals with existing suppliers, developed new licensed ranges and have been guided by key dates per licence, to plan new product launches/collections. Although I had a lot of exposure to licensing before the course, it definitely gave me more confidence to further my involvement in the licensing side of the business.
Why would you recommend other retailers to join the Retail Mentoring Programme?
I would absolutely recommend the Retail Mentoring Programme. There is a good combination of practical and lecture-based learning. Brand visits are really eye opening, helping you appreciate the other side of the relationship and how you can best work together. It is also interesting to meet people from other retailers and learn from different approaches and experiences within licensing. The programme provides a good understanding of all aspects and processes in producing licensed merchandise with the opportunity to seek answers for specific questions and make connections.
What one nugget of knowledge do you wish you had when you started on the programme that you would pass down to people just joining brand licensing?
The course was great, and I feel like you just need to get in there with an empty notepad, constantly keeping in mind what it is you want to get out of the course and how it can help you progress within your role.
No matter how much experience you have, it’s likely that you will have concerns, niggles or just general questions/blanks to fill, which only those in the industry will know the answers to, so make sure if they are not covered, you have the questions ready to ask.