Artists and designers have until October 11 to enter the newly renamed Kelvyn Gardner License This! Competition. Organised by Brand Licensing Europe (the licensing trade show, 17-19 November at Excel) this competition has been helping brands and designers to break into the licensing industry for over a decade, with several greeting card artists featuring in the alumni.
Tracey Colliston, founder of greeting card company Ginger Betty won License This! last year with her Owl’s Nest brand, which is feted in The Henries 2021 (having reached the finals in the Best Cute Range).
Artist Rosie Brooks (whose designs are published on greeting cards by Holy Mackerel) was a winner in 2019.
Applications for this year’s entries close on Monday 11 October with the competition final taking place in-person at BLE on Friday 19 November.
Among the judges for the competition this year are Dan Grant, Danilo’s licensing director, Dale Boreham, senior design manager of Moonpig, Jehane Boden Spiers, founder of Jehane and Sarah Lawrence, director of This is Iris, the latter two represent artists whose art is reproduced by greeting card publishers. The other judges are Emily Aldridge, head of global licensing, Abysse Corp; Rob Goodchild, commercial director of Aardman; Karen Hewitt, buying director of Character.com; Phil King, managing director of Trademark Products; Billy Langsworthy, co-founder of Mojo Nation & Brands Untapped; Maxine Lister, head of licensing of the Natural History Museum; Clare Piggott, managing director of Larkshead Media; Teri Niadna, managing director, of Brandgenuity; Sabrina Segalov, senior international licensing manager of Sanrio Global and Sarah Ward, chief executive of the Giftware Association.
Start Licensing’s director Ian Downes will chair the judging. Ian is stepping into the enormous shoes left empty by former chair Kelvyn Gardner, a licensing stalwart who sadly passed away at the start of the year, his contribution recognised in the rechristening of the competition.
“Kelvyn was someone that I – and everyone else in the licensing industry – genuinely loved and truly admired,” commented Anna Knight, VP of Licensing, Informa Markets, which runs BLE. “He chaired License This! from day one and was a massive advocate for making the sector accessible to everyone, particularly new blood with exciting ideas. He was so generous with his time – not only through the judging process – but also with the mentoring he offered the finalists and winners, that it seems only fitting it’s now known as the Kelvyn Gardner License This! Competition.”
Here Ginger Betty’s Tracey Colliston shares her thoughts about winning the competition in 2020 as well as how the past year has been for her…
How has the past 12 months been for you and your brand Owl’s Nest?
“In the past 12 months Owl’s Nest has been growing in popularity, with retailers really taking it on board and regularly requesting new products. I have also been busy exploring new ideas and growing the range of greetings cards.”
You previously said you hoped your success in the competition would open up many avenues? Has this been the case?
“Winning License This! has given Ginger Betty the opportunity to speak to potential licensees, with new products being added on the horizon – things are looking extremely positive! The advice and support given by licensing industry experts has been extremely helpful and valuable to me.”
What’s next for Owl’s Nest?
“Owl’s Nest has been nominated as a finalist at the Henries Awards next week on the 7 October. We’re in the category for Best Cute Range. We’re really excited and proud to be in the finals of such a prestigious event. We had really successful shows at Harrogate Home and Gift and PG Live in July. And are currently developing more products to add to the range, and also creating new ranges for Ginger Betty.”
You have a stand at BLE in October this year. What are you looking forward to most about exhibiting?
“At BLE I am looking forward to showcasing Owl’s Nest and speaking to people within the industry to develop the brand further. It is a brilliant opportunity to show how passionate I am about my little creatures and hopefully others will feel the same!”
Why should people enter License This?
“You must enter the License This competition! It is a great way to put yourself out there and receive helpful advice, alongside publicity and connections within such an exciting industry!”
Brand Licensing Europe is the only pan-European annual event dedicated to licensing and brand extension. The London event, which takes place at ExCel on November 17-19 this year will feature over 2,500 brands and more than 7,500 licensees, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and licensing agents.
In tribute to Kelvyn Gardner, the second day of the BLE will be called Colour for Kelvyn Day. Attendees are invited to wear bright colours in honour of Kelvyn’s love for eye-catching jackets and make a donation in his name to industry charity The Light Fund.
Top: Tracey Colliston demonstrated to judges of last year’s competition how the Owl’s Nest look could be translated onto ceramics and baby products through licensing.