“We opened European offices in Germany and France”

Pyramid International’s Mordy Benaiah on the steps the licensee took ahead of Brexit which are now paying dividends.

“Back in April 2020 when we went into lockdown it was a dark and worrying time for all of us,” explains Mordy Benaiah, licensing director at Pyramid International. “A lot of staff were placed on furlough and small teams within the business pulled together to action plans for survival. As time went on we realised that with great spirit, determination and innovative product, we could find ways of landing business, exploiting online as the true growth channel.

Pyramid pushed itself to buy in stock for the latter part of the year at great risk knowing that at some point sales would trigger. That fighting spirit worked and we clawed our way back to ending the year on a positive note with some amazing sales.

Now we face new problems with difficulties in moving goods from Asia to the UK and the shortage of containers. This is causing delays and backlogs for all manufacturers coupled with Brexit. The UK docks were in meltdown with suppliers trying to bring as much stock into the UK before the deadline.

New Harry Potter products are among Pyramid's new Q1 launches.
New Harry Potter products are among Pyramid's new Q1 launches.

Pyramid took steps a long time ago to prevent Brexit from harming our business. We had the foresight to open European offices in Germany and France to manage continental Europe more effectively. This will pay huge dividends now the UK has finally separated from the rest of Europe.

Other concerns are how will the high street ever recover? Online retail has forged ahead making life so simple for buyers who have become used to purchasing at the click of a button and sitting back. It spells bad news as buying trends have changed forever and we have seen powerhouse retailers like John Lewis suffer, not to mention the loss of Top Shop and many others.

Are we missing live events? When I look back and see the huge cost savings made on travel attending events, exhibition costs it is huge. Do we need to do them going forward? I think the answer is yes, but maybe to a lesser extent. The ability to showcase and network face to face has been missed and can’t be replaced by a computer screen.

One positive note to end on is sustainability. Less packaging, plastic use and reduction on our carbon footprint is in everyone’s focus going forward. Retail is starting to understand that they have to play a part in perhaps paying more for goods if it comes to them more environmentally packaged and supplied. That can only be a good thing.”

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2021 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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