Having shown their talents in the greeting card field, Tracey Colliston (creator of Lots of Woof!, Barley Bear, Eliott and Buttons and founder of Ginger Betty card publisher) and Siobhan Harrison (of Siobhan at April Rose fame) are among the designers to feature in the shortlist of this year’s License This! competition. The two winners of this annual competition will be hailed as new brand concepts that are ripe for licensing opportunities.
This important competition historically forms part of Brand Licensing Europe exhibition, but this year is part of its digital replacement, Festival of Licensing (a month-long virtual licensing event, which runs 6-29 October).
Three brands have been shortlisted in each of the Character & Animation and Brand & Design award categories.
Brand & Design finalists are: Louise Bell of Louise Bell Art; Danelle van Eeden for Kos-Kos and Tracey Colliston (owner of card publisher, Ginger Betty) for her Owl’s Nest brand.
Tracey told PG Buzz that she feels “extremely proud” to have reached the finals of License This! with her Owl’s Nest contemporary brand that has proved so popular on greeting cards for Ginger Betty. “The opportunity License This! gives me to grow the brand and make contacts within different industries is very exciting!
She is up against tough competition in Danelle van Eeden and Louise Bell in the category.
Sharing her delight at reaching the finals, Danelle van Eeden said “having my work under the eyes of the judges who are all industry leaders in their own right, is already a dream come true. I am currently working on a recipe book for kids, which, so far, will be self-published. My illustration work has never been published before.”
Louise Bell described being in the finals as “a wonderful experience. After having all my presentation design work disappear overnight at the start of lockdown I have worked so hard learning how to create patterns, entering art challenges and making my first portfolio all since March. It’s been a life saver and has kept me sane during these crazy times. I couldn’t watch TV or read, but I could draw and thankfully my creativity didn’t disappear.”
Meanwhile, the finalists in the Character & Animation category are George Mackay of Creature Aided Design for his eejits brand; Anthony Williams of Taoa Studio for his WhamBlam! concept and Siobhan Harrison, of Siobhan at April Rose for her Foxglove Fairies brand.
Siobhan Harrison is a well-respected name in the greeting card and gift industry, through her company Siobhan at April Rose. Siobhan is on a bit of a roll as her products also reached the finals in two categories of the Gift of the Year awards this year.
Siobhan’s Illustration experience working in-house for M&S and freelance for WHSmith, Next, Magi Design, Card Connection, Mint Creative and others illustrating greeting cards led her to design her own ranges for wholesale, exhibiting regularly at Progressive Greetings Live. She told PG Buzz that she hopes that by being highlighted in License This! will increase “the possibility of developing Foxglove Fairies into other product areas as her first licensed character range.”
Fellow finalist in this category is George Mackay for his eejits concept, which has been dabbling with publishing as greeting cards on his own eejits Etsy store (eejits.etsy.com).
“I am over the moon to be chosen as a finalist for License This! Absolute delighted!!” said Georg. “It is something I have never done before, however people had been encouraging me to enter for many years. So, I thought it’s about time I took eejits to the next level.”
A live final will take place online during Festival of Licensing at 10am on Thursday October 8 with each finalist asked to pitch their brands to the judging panel.
Dan Grant, licensing director of Danilo is among the judges for License This! Sharing his views on this responsibility, he told PG Buzz: “It’s always been a pleasure to be involved in the License This! Judging event, having taken part for the last few years.
Every year the competition seems to attract a wider variety of entrants from across the globe, as well as a pipeline of new properties that could end up being the next big license.
The level of effort that goes into the entries is pretty amazing and the thought behind how a property can be grown into a license seems to improve every year as well.
We have a great selection of people on the judging panel from all areas of licensing and it provides a very good forum for discussion and debate to decide which properties should go through to the finals.
It is always difficult to select the finalists, but hopefully the judges have selected some winning options again this year.”
This year’s two License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2021, one year’s member of trade association, Licensing International, PR support, plus invaluable advice from the panel of industry experts.
In addition, all finalists will receive legal consultation from competition sponsor Wynne-Jones. Previous entrants – both winners and finalists – have successfully signed lucrative agent and licensing deals.
Registration is open for Festival of Licensing the new, virtual gathering that is set to take place 6-29 October. Brands participating come from the worlds of entertainment, publishing, gaming, sport, lifestyle, not for profit and heritage. Go to festivaloflicensing.com to register.
Top: Two of the finalists in License This! Owl’s Nest (left) and eejits.