Retail Interview – Rosanna Cousins

This month, our Head of Retail, Hannah Stevens sat down with our new Retail Manager, Rosanna. Rosanna joins The Point’s team fresh from just over 3 years at John Lewis, with her most recent role as Assistant Buyer in Decorative bedding.  With further roles at Harrods, and an internship in New York – Rosanna brings a huge amount of expertise into the team. In this interview Rosanna gives her views on 2021 at retail – and what she sees ahead!

Hannah – So Rosanna, what is your favourite brand of all time and why?

Rosanna – My favourite brand of all time has to be Barbie! As a child I was obsessed with building my Barbie empire and now as an adult I still find myself buying Barbie apparel and accessories as I love the nostalgia of the brand. I think as a brand, Barbie has a special way of influencing and connecting with consumers of all ages, so I think it’s great that Barbie has really started embracing diversity and introduced strong, inspirational role models such as Ashley Graham (Body Activist) and Katherine Johnson (NASA Mathematician and Physicist).

Hannah – In your new role you are much closer to the licensed product side of product.  In your opinion – what are the licensed brands you see as most innovative and exciting for 2021 and beyond

Rosanna – The licensed brands that I am most excited about for 2021 and beyond are Cocomelon and Williams – and we are lucky enough to represent both of these incredible brands at The Point. 1888! I think the power of Cocomelon is undeniable – as the biggest kids YouTube channel in the world, the brand is growing at a record speed, and I am so excited to see what it is able to achieve next year. I am also really excited for the future of the Williams license as Williams within itself represents true British innovation and with sport making a big come back following the pandemic, the brand has the ability to offer consumers true escapism and bring people together.

Hannah – Which category of licensed product do you see the most innovation happening? We see lots of new FMCG movements – but we’d love to know your thoughts!

Rosanna – I have to agree! There are some really exciting things happening in FMCG, with more brands than ever before expanding their product offering into this category and pushing boundaries to offer truly exciting and surprising products. I think our Barratt x Iceland ice lolly’s are a great example of this as the lolly’s are fun and tasty for children and the flavours are nostalgic for adults – offering an exciting, cross generational product that brings joy to customers of all ages! I also think there is a lot of innovation coming through in children’s licensing as brands strive to offer something new and differentiated to retailers and customers. Children’s brands are embracing innovation in materials and demand for environmentally friendly products, introducing such products as recycled plush and reducing plastic throughout the supply chain.

Hannah –  How do you feel the industry is performing at offering retailers a point of difference from licensed products – what do you look for? And how can we all be better!

Rosanna – I always look for products that bring true value to customers lives, no matter how big or small a product is, it is an investment to the customer and should not just bring them joy but also genuine purpose and value. This is also important to make sure that products and brands have longevity and build a trusted connection and a relationship with the consumer. Sustainability is also a massive consideration as it’s so important that we all take responsibility for the future of our planet.

 

Hannah – How do you feel the millennial/ Gen Z is shopping licensed brands – what are they looking for from a customer experience and products?

Rosanna – I think that millennial and Gen Z are really looking for brands that fit into their lifestyle and reflects the values that they believe in and want to promote. They want to buy into licensed brands that they resonate with and are proud to share with friends – these brands allow them to express themselves and connect with likeminded communities. I think this is one of the many reasons that platforms such as Tik Tok have become so powerful in the past year, at a time where we have been so isolated from one another. Hence it is key that licensed brands can utilise such platforms in order to start a conversation and connection with Millennials and Gen Z.  Millennials and Gen Z are also extremely conscious of the environment, their impact on the planet and social issues, so they seek out brands which they believe can help to make a difference in the world both socially and environmentally.

Hannah – As you know well, we work on our brands from a retail first approach – do you feel this is critical in coming to the retailer first on signing preferred suppliers, and seeing the brand at the early stages?

Rosanna – Yes, I definitely think our retail first approach is critical! It offers the retailer the unique opportunity to work in true partnership with The Point. 188, our brands, and licensees to ensure that together we are building an exciting and commercially successful product offering, that has their specific customer in mind from day one of the development process. Our approach also ensures that we are providing retailers with brands and product ranges that offer longevity and further opportunities into the future. Signing preferred suppliers is also very important to the way that we work, and I think this is extremely beneficial to the retailer as it ensures that they can work with partners that they trust and as all retailers have different requirements it means that no product is out of scope. 

Hannah – How do you feel retail has performed in the last year with the various store closures, shipping crisis and shortages? Do you feel there have been some winners out of this pandemic, and also what do you feel retailers could do differently to combat this?

Rosanna – It goes without saying that the past year has been extremely challenging for everyone, for so many different reasons. However, I believe it has given everyone in retail an insight into the different industries that are involved in bringing products to consumers and allowed a shared sense of compassion and empathy for one another, which has strengthened relationships and allowed us to work together as a community to identify true priorities. However, I think there are definitely many retailers that have come through the past year stronger, and these are retailers that have been flexible, agile and with strong online platforms. The pandemic has really highlighted the power and importance of online in terms of an online retail platform and the power of social media to connect with consumers.

Hannah – And lastly … How have you been finding working at The Point 1888 so far!?  

Rosanna – This is a very easy question… I love it!! The Point. 1888 really is a very special place to work and I am very grateful to be a part of such a dynamic and inspiring business. The team is made up of an exceptional tribe of fun, caring and hard-working individuals who bring a variety of experience and support one another to create amazing, unique licensed products and build the business into the future. In my first two months, I have absolutely loved having full creative freedom – no idea is too wild, and nothing is beyond our imagination! I am really looking forward to my career at The Point. 1888!

If you want to hear more from Rosanna, find her here on LinkedIn.

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