Senior Category Manager (Softlines)

Penguin Ventures
Up to £60,000 DOE
Fixed Term
Hybrid / London

Senior Category Manager (Softlines) – 12 months Fixed Term Contract

Penguin Ventures, the licensing and consumer product division of Penguin Random House Children’s UK, is looking for an ambitious and innovative Senior Category Manager to drive our softlines business, manage the existing licensee portfolio and seek out and secure new business to grow the category and deliver incremental revenue.

This position is multi market, and reports to the Penguin Ventures Commercial Director. Whilst the role centres on our Children’s brands, existing experience in the Children’s space is not essential – we’re even more interested in someone who brings proven softlines category management experience and is excited by the opportunity to manage and grow such a key part of the Ventures business.

How to apply: Please apply using this link with your CV & Cover Letter telling us why you’re the perfect candidate by 23:59 on Sunday 25th February. 

About Penguin Ventures 

We’re off the page and on an adventure.

We take our iconic literary brands and characters: Peter Rabbit, The World of Eric Carle, The Snowman, Spot and Flower Fairies off the page and bring them to life via our licensing and consumer products programme. We connect with our audience and fans at every touch point – whether that’s on products, at retail, part of promotions, across digital or through our comprehensive live experiences-we manage this all in house through our expert team.


The Opportunity  

In this role you will build and grow strong relationships with like-minded partners who share our values and understand what is right for our brand. Our softlines portfolio ranges from apparel and accessories, housewares & health & beauty. We work directly with all our partners in the UK and beyond including the likes of; Blues Group, Marks & Spencer, JoJo Maman Bebe Amscan, Bloom & Blossom, DNC, Character World and many more.


Your core focus will be: 

  • To manage the softlines licensee portfolio as well as seek out and secure new business to grow the category and deliver revenue to the annual Penguin Ventures budget.
  • To deliver the category strategy for the softlines business and to influence the creative and brand strategies, in order to support the growth of the softlines business.
  • To aid retail conversations with your relevant category buyers to drive retail sell thru in partnership with your licensees.


Candidate Profile 

  • Excellent knowledge of the licensing industry; the key partners and relevant retailer buyers.
  • An in-depth knowledge and experience of UK softlines with a specific focus on apparel, accessories & housewares
  • The ability to pitch a clear and engaging product proposition that works in service to the brand and creative strategies, but also meets the needs of the licensee, retailer, and end consumer.
  • A great communicator who can be persuasive in making their argument while balancing the views of others.
  • A big-picture thinker who can join the dots between categories, retailers, and consumers to build a clear brand proposition and direction for development and growth.
  • A strong eye for detail as this role needs to have a comprehensive grasp of contracts and financial information.
  • A strong collaborator and team player.
  • Excellent presentation skills.
  • Calm under pressure and able to think on your feet when the situation demands.
  • Flexibility to attend relevant UK tradeshows or where required international shows to represent the Softlines area of the business or Penguin Ventures more generally as a spokesperson.


Detailed Role Responsibilities 

  • To deliver the ongoing strategic growth plan for the softlines business both at category and licensee level.
  • To identify category gaps and drive the new business pipeline for category expansion.
  • To regularly present our properties and brand updates to new and existing licensing partners
  • Full new business pipeline responsibility closing new deals as well as renewing existing licensees, contracting them and tracking the deal through its lifecycle including:
  • Working with Contracts to ensure all queries with the licensee are dealt with in a timely fashion through to signature of the agreement
  • Be across all product development alongside the Creative team and support in dealing with any pinch-points as regards to development – Track the licensees royalties quarterly reporting through Brand Comply and deal with any pinch-points as regards reporting and payments
  • Work with licensees to secure annual forecasting to aid in the Ventures overall budget and forecasting process
  • Be the main point of contact for all softlines queries and enquiries within the business including the key conduit for all marketing, PR and social media conversations between your licensees and the Own Brand marketing and PR team including licensee and retail marketing, press releases and PR as well as social media posts.


Financial Responsibility 

  • As part of the overall management of your category area you will be responsible for “owning” your numbers as well as a wider understanding of the team’s financial responsibilities in service to the budget including:
  • A detailed understanding of your licensees performance by SKU and retailer.
  • An understanding of the sales numbers across the team in service to the PRH P&L – A broader understanding of the Penguin Ventures number and how this impacts the PRH Children’s budget
  • A deep understanding of the sales figures for your area to help identify gaps and trends in service to building a robust strategic plan for the softlines business.
  • You will be responsible for presenting numbers for your area to the team and the wider business as well as providing data in support of senior leadership and operating board meetings as needed.



  • You should build, nurture and develop relationships with the key retail buyers in your category.
  • To present quarterly or at least bi-annually to the relevant buyers at the key retailers for your area or where cross-category initiatives are in play to a wider buying group.
  • To work with the Owned Brand Marketing and PR Team to support retailers particularly on category opportunities and initiatives that amplify key brand and campaign messaging.


How to apply: Please apply using this link with your CV & Cover Letter telling us why you’re the perfect candidate by 23:59 on Sunday 25th February.

Salary: up to £60,000 depending on how your skills and experience align with the role, plus bonus and benefits.

Competitive benefits package: Our people are the heart of our business, and we work hard to support a culture of responsibility and recognition.

Our benefits include:

  • Financial – income protection, life assurance, childcare allowance
  • Wellbeing – healthcare cash plan, critical illness cover, health checks
  • Lifestyle – enhanced parental leave, tech scheme,


For our full benefits list please visit:

Hybrid working: We’re experimenting with a hybrid way of working that suits the needs of each team. While our offices across the UK are places to connect, collaborate and celebrate with colleagues, we recognise that flexibility around where you work is just as important. For this role we expect that you are in the office 2-3 days a week, working at home on the other days.