“License This! has never been more important,” says Will Stewart, returning judge and managing director, The Point.1888. “Every industry needs new young brands to be nurtured to build the opportunities of the future. There will be tons of home-working or furloughed designers who have been doodling over the last couple of months. Be brave, and submit your work – the exposure you get, the feedback you get and the confidence you will get are vital. Every year, the quality improves, and what's really impressed me is when designers come back with tweaks based on the previous year’s feedback. Last year’s winner Drew Bristow is a great example of this.”
This year’s judges are confirmed as:
Kelvyn Gardner, chair, Asgard Media;
Sarah Ward, chief executive officer, The Giftware Association;
Victor Caddy, director and trademark & design attorney, Wynne-Jones;
Kirsty Barr, public relations, Grapevine;
Character & Animation award
Dan Grant, licensing director, Danilo Promotions;
Clare Piggott, managing director, Larkshead Media;
Ruth Golightly, head of buying, Asda;
Emily Aldridge, head of licensing, GB eye;
Ian Downes, director, Start Licensing;
Nico Franks, editor, C21 Kids;
Brand & Design award
Stuart Cox, owner, I Like Birds;
Vicki Thomas, owner, Vicki Thomas Associates;
Sarah Lawrence, director, This is Iris;
Jehane Boden Spiers, founder, JEHANE; and
Will Stewart, founder and managing director, The Point.1888.
This year’s judges are on the hunt for new blood across two award categories: Character & Animation and Brand & Design. To qualify, entrants can hail from anywhere in the world, but they must not be working with an agent or have any retail deals in place. Entry is
and ends September 1.
The finalists will be chosen on Sept. 11 by two judging panels, including new faces critiquing the Character & Animation category: Ruth Golightly, head of buying, Asda; Emily Aldridge, licensing head, GB Eye; Nico Franks, editor, C21 Kids and Ian Downes, founder, Start Licensing.
“Licensing is an industry that thrives on new ideas and fresh talent,” says Downes. “It can be hard to break through sometimes, so a forum like License This! is a very welcome one as it shines a light on creativity. I look forward to seeing this year's entries. Well done BLE for driving License This! forward.”
This year’s two License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2021, one year’s Licensing International membership, PR support and 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 off the back of the competition and are championing fellow entrepreneurs to sign up.
“It was a really fun experience, and it has opened so many doors for me already – I can't wait for BLE this autumn,” says Rosie Brooks, one of last year’s two winners. “If you’re thinking about entering this year, all the judges I spoke to said it was about the potential of the idea rather than finished and polished product lines, so if you have an idea you think has the possibility to grow, make lots of prototypes: the more you experiment, the stronger the idea will become.”
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