This week we are thrilled to be chatting to Lucy Long, Buying Manager at Character.com
Hannah – To kick us off with a big question … We would love to know what your favourite brand of all time?
Lucy – Personally, my favorite brand of all time is Barbie. It’s something I grew up with and it brings back such amazing memories to see my Nieces play with their Barbies. The fact that the iconic doll turns 65 years old next year is amazing and I don’t think there will be any future brands that could ever have this much longevity and still show no signs of slowing down.
Hannah – Which licensed brands do you see as most innovative and exciting for 2023?
Lucy – 2023 is going to be a tough year, there is no denying it. I do think that Barbie will see greater growth next year with the Movie and we cannot forget the year round celebrations of D100 which I feel will see some much loved brands re-launched back into licensed product categories.
Hannah: Which category of licensed product do you see the most innovation happening this year?
Lucy – 2022 has all been about multi-packs and how we as retailers can make customers shopping easier and how they receive more value for money.
Hannah: What do you feel have been your ‘big wins’ this year brand wise?
Lucy – 2022 has been a strange year for us all and I don’t think 2023 will be any different unfortunately. However, we have seen great success with Bluey, Gabby’s Dolls House and most recently Squishmallows.
Hannah: The licensing industry is always changing and evolving at the brands being launched, and the opportunities available to present to retailers. How do you feel the industry is performing at offering retailers a point of difference?
Lucy – There are many brands that will give retailers windows of exclusivity on style guides or even give you guides exclusively,
however, on some brands they don’t have a large amount of assists which makes product selections difficult at times. In my opinion, new brands should ensure they have a range of individual artworks available so buyers can be as creative as they wish to design products with a point of difference.
Hannah: In this ‘post pandemic’ retail environment, how valuable do you think it is for retailers to be offering a true instore experience when it comes to brands, and what do you think customer expects from brands?
Lucy – With everything that has gone on in the world these last two years, I feel it’s more important than ever retailers offer the best customer journey. This starts from product selection and how we envisage the finished product will look online. Price, will the customer be happy with the quality as well as the overall look and feel of the garment when they receive it for the price they paid and lastly will the recipient love it as much as we do? If you have ticked all these boxes then you have done everything to meet customer expectations.
Hannah: Spotlight 1888’s company DNA is through a retail first approach. How important do you feel it is for the industry to come to buyers first, to ensure you are consulted in the process in building a licensed brand from scratch?
Lucy – I feel its extremely important, buyers purchase a huge breadth of licenses and have a huge amount of knowledge of what
works and what doesn’t. Of course this will vary from B&M and E-Com but asking a wide range of buyers will give an endless amount of industry understanding that in my opinion, is invaluable.
Hannah: And lastly…..a cheeky one from me … How have you found working with The Point 1888/ Spotlight 1888 retail team in your role?
Lucy – Honestly, a total dream! Hannah is a breath of fresh air to work with, any ideas I come up with, big or small, she’s always so supportive and it makes such a difference when you work with partners who just get it!
Big thanks to Lucy for taking the time to chat to us, and for working with our team accross many brands- it is always a pleasure! Find Lucy on LinkedIn and our Director of Retail Hannah– we always love to chat so drop her a message.