LicensingSource catches up with a number of brand owners to find out how 2021 has been so far, their views on the retail environment and the challenges and positives as we move through the second half of the year.
Today: Helen Genia, senior manager, consumer products, Mattel.
“For our licensing business, we have overcome many challenges,” begins Helen Genia, senior manager, consumer products at Mattel. “The continued lockdowns have affected many categories, but particularly party, dress-up and apparel. But since stores have opened, we have seen a return to health with apparel set to be in growth by the end of the year. Other categories have been very robust, so it has been a real mixed bag.”
Helen says that she has been heartened to see how everyone across all sectors has pivoted to adapt to new agile working conditions, adding that Mattel is fortunate to have “great partners that have continued to push the boundaries”.
“Just to name a few, our Very and SkinnyDip partnerships with Barbie continue to bring freshness to both our kid and adult fans. Our arts and crafts partnerships are delivering to our consumer needs, while publishing remains a cornerstone of our beloved Thomas & Friends franchise, where we are also innovating with new formats.”
From a hardlines perspective, Helen admits that, like so many other companies, things are challenging with cost increases in raw materials and worldwide shortage on IC chips, to the “ludicrous” cost increases in freight from the Far East or containers simply not being available. “We are fortunate that some categories can be airfreighted due to size and that others are coming from other regions across the globe,” she says.
There are positives, too, however: “We are privileged to be in a position where our business is buoyant. The product that we are bringing to market is the best we have seen, due to the laser focus we have on our development, ensuring that we deliver best in class product to meet the demands of our consumers, allowing them to deepen their relationships through relevant brand extensions,” Helen concludes.