10 Minutes With … Haylett Entertainment on Building a Successful IP Program

Ahead of Licensing Expo, Jane West Bakerink, co-president, Haylett Entertainment, talks about building a successful cross-category consumer products program.

Barbara Smith , Digital Editor

May 7, 2024

6 Min Read
Jane Bakerink.
Jane Bakerink.Haylett Entertainment

License Global: Tell us about Haylett Entertainment.  

Jane West Bakerink: The seed for Haylett Entertainment was planted in 2000 with my self-published book, “The Lonesome Pine.” It’s a story about a pine tree’s dream of becoming a Christmas tree, embodying a universal message that everyone is special and unique and has something to offer to this world. This story resonated deeply with children, parents and educators alike, sparking a chorus of voices over the years urging me to adapt the book into an animation.  

My professional background as a writer, author, songwriter, actress, singer and dancer, and my husband, Jay Bakerink’s, vast professional experience as a writer, producer, director and editor, we possess a comprehensive suite of skills in the entertainment industry. We decided to explore the possibility of making the book into an animation. Despite initial interest in the animation from studios and networks, we encountered a common theme – a desire to reshape “The Lonesome Pine” in a vision divergent from our own.  

Jay and I shared passionately in our ability to create, write and produce the animation ourselves, and on our own terms. So, we made the bold decision in 2017 to sell our house and establish Haylett Entertainment. Our mission was very clear: to transform the book, “The Lonesome Pine,” into an animated holiday special that remained true to its core messages and values. I wrote the screenplay and after two years of diligent pre-production work and securing the necessary financing, our vision culminated into the creation of “Piney: The Lonesome Pine.” This undertaking wasn’t just about bringing a book to life; it was about maintaining the integrity of a story that had touched so many lives.  

We are filled with immense pride as Piney not only graces Disney platforms in the U.S., but also 71 countries/territories … and counting. Piney has also earned an Emmy nomination and accolades suggesting it’s on its way to becoming a new holiday classic. Piney is also available on DVD, and the amazing musical score recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, is available on all the major music streaming platforms. In 2022, further extending the reach of this beloved tale, “Piney: The Lonesome Pine – A Holiday Classic,” a beautiful 32-page picture book adapted from the animation was released globally by Hachette Book Group/Running Press Kids.  


From its inception, Haylett Entertainment has grown into Haylett Entertainment and Marketing, offering a full range of in-house creative services that extend beyond entertainment to meet video creation for marketing needs. At its heart, Haylett Entertainment embodies the power of storytelling and the belief that with passion, creativity and determination, any dream can be brought into reality.  

What do you look for in a licensing partner?  

When it comes to finding the right licensing partner for Piney, our criteria align closely with the core values we uphold within our brand. The search is about more than just expanding our market presence; it’s about fostering relationships that reflect a mutual respect, passion and ethos that Piney represents.   

We prioritize partners who have a shared compassion for the Piney brand, a genuine appreciation for the story we’re telling and the values we’re sharing. It’s important that our partners understand and share our commitment to making a positive impact, particularly when it comes to the health and well-being of children.   

We believe in the power of education and entertainment to improve the lives of children. Our ideal licensing partner understands this power and is committed to creating products that are not just fun but are also enriching, offering meaningful experiences that contribute to a child’s development.  

Sustainability is another critical factor. In today’s world, it’s not enough to merely do well; companies must also do good. We look for partners who are dedicated to reducing environmental impact and who actively incorporate sustainable practices into their operations.   

How do you identify those potential partners?  

Finding the right licensing partner for Piney is about aligning with entities that are not only in business to profit but are propelled by a mission to make a difference in the world. Through shared compassion, quality, sustainability and a dedication to enriching children’s lives, we can continue to share Piney’s message in new and impactful ways.  


What excites you most about creating new collaborations?  

Forging new collaborations, for us, revolves around the opportunity to elevate Piney’s presence and influence a broader audience – reaching children, their families and educators worldwide. The essence of Piney, which encapsulates inspiration, love, hope and joy, is something we’re eager to continue to share on a global scale.  

The magical feeling in seeing the impact of our work firsthand through emails, messages and photographs sent in by people whose lives have been positively impacted by Piney, filled with happy hearts and smiling faces, truly makes our hearts burst. Witnessing families come together to throw Piney-themed parties or children taking their first step in planting their very own Piney brings this home in a powerful way.   

The overwhelming feedback from parents seeking out Piney-themed merchandise – be it a cuddly plush toy, pajamas or engaging games to play – signals an exciting direction for our future partnerships. The anticipation of expanding Piney’s world through these partnerships excites us to our core, promising a future where we continue to touch more lives, spark more smiles and inspire a global community around the values that Piney stands for.  

What can we expect from Haylett Entertainment for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025?  

Haylett Entertainment is gearing up for an exciting time ahead as we continue our mission to  create imaginative and nurturing content for children.   

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that “Piney: The Lonesome Pine” is a new member of the tonies family, coming fall 2024. This collaboration brings to life the Piney figurine, offering 45 minutes of engaging audio content. This includes a unique version of “Piney: The Lonesome Pine” animation narrated by me, introducing the story in a descriptive way. In addition, I also read the book adapted from the animation, “Piney: The Lonesome Pine – A Holiday Classic,” published by Hachette Book Group/Running Press Kids, adding a personal touch and extending the Piney universe in a new form. Additionally, children will be delighted by special greetings from Piney himself.  


Extending the existing Piney brand, we are also delighted to announce we are developing a spin-off series titled, “Piney in Georgie’s Planet.” Aimed at an audience of children ages 2-8, this series of 11-minute episodes will follow Piney’s adventures, promising more fun, inspiration and magical moments.   

We are immensely proud and on “pines and needles” with excitement for the future of our beloved Piney brand!  

Haylett Entertainment will be attending Licensing Expo 2024 in Las Vegas, NV and will be at booth #B115.

Register for Licensing Expo 2024.

About the Author(s)

Barbara Smith

Digital Editor , License Global

Barbara Smith is a Digital Editor for License Global. Based in the U.S., while Barbara's remit is general news coverage, she enjoys focusing on apparel, travel and social media throughout North America. Barbara loves all things fashion, fitness and food!

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