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“Jane was gracious, kind, thoughtful and equable… but most of all, she was fun”

Rob Corney, md at Bulldog Licensing, shares his memories from 20 years of friendship with Jane Garner.

I have been friends with Jane for over 20 years.

I can’t say exactly how long I knew her because she was the kind of person who, from the briefest of introductions, gave you the feeling she had been a part of your life forever. She was gracious, she was kind, she was thoughtful and she was equable… but most of all, she was fun.

Jane was the perfect sounding board for all things licensing. From having started her career at Northern & Shell before moving into marketing at CPLG, she began her own PR agency, Kilogrammedia over 20 years ago, building up a business which was recognised by all as one of the very best in the industry. And she understood the industry as an extended family, grasping its important and unique nature which goes beyond the simple commercials.

When I told her I was starting a new licensing agency, her reaction wasn’t simply to wish me luck and watch on from afar. Her very first words were, ‘well, you’ll need a good PR then. I’ll do it for free until you get things set up.’ She went on to become one of the single biggest influences in the growth of the fledgling business and true to her word, didn’t charge a penny until we were able to pay a retainer. They have remained our PRs, as well as our friends, over the 17 years since and we owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.

She carried with her the respect of all in licensing journalism, capable of thinking on her feet in a meeting and steering the conversation to its best possible conclusion. She could learn about a brand for the first time in a meeting and still contribute to the discussion as if she’d known about it all along (before calling me to remind me that it, ‘would be quite useful,’ if she were told of any new brands in advance of a trade show!). And she had a strangely calming manner about her whenever anything went wrong, always responding with, ‘Oh… God… [deep breath]’ Solution!

A clear mark of her huge generosity and recognition of the symbiotic nature of licensing came at the first lockdown. While many of us were wondering what on earth was going to happen, Jane was busy calling people, checking they were okay at a time when she herself must have been deeply concerned about her own business. She was unique, intelligent and quick to share her caring nature to make the world a little better for everyone.

Outside of licensing, Jane’s great passion was animals… over the year, a flock of bantams with Elvis hairstyles have fearlessly guarded the front door. Two cats, each the size of a Sumatran tiger, were on duty in the lounge, one earning the name Laptop because of his propensity for demanding attention rather than encouraging work.

She was the first person to introduce my children to horse riding, placing my first-born atop a huge, beautiful, chestnut mare which she introduced to us as Scylla. I was slightly nervous about my then five year old taking the reigns of the famed six-headed Hydra of the Odyssey. Jane looked at me as if it were I who had six heads and gently pointed out that Cilla was in fact ginger with big teeth and named after Cilla Black!

JaneandJDBut her faithful companion, Jackdaw, had the softest place in Jane’s heart. The black lab has a touch of grey these days but there can be no dog lucky enough to have been loved so much by such a kind-hearted friend and mother as Jane.

It was perhaps fitting that, although her days were sadly fewer than they should have been, their passing was marked across the whole country by a weekend of the Aurora Borealis, as if the heavens recognise how blessed they are to receive such a gentle soul.

She would have appreciated that. To light up the sky in the way she lit up those around her… to leave this world a brighter and more colourful place.

Thank you, Jane. For everything.

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