With more than a 10 year career in licensing, Damian has worked across brands ranging in diversity from Everlast to "The Simpsons" to The Snowman; and with international clients such as Activision, Twentieth Century Fox, EA Sports and Major League Baseball.
As brand manager at Penguin Ventures, Damian pushes the brand development and strategy across a portfolio of brands that includes Ladybird Books: The Vintage Collection, Flower Fairies, Spot, Hairy Maclary and Friends whilst working in partnership with Copyrights and Channel 4 with respect to The Snowman and The Snowdog.
How many years have you been attending the show?
I’m probably looking at approximately 6 or 7 years now in different functions from casual observer to agent and now licensor.
How long do you usually stay for?
For the past couple of years with a Penguin Ventures hat on, it’s a weeklong endeavour. We’ll be in on Monday morning finishing the build for the stand and then dressing it appropriately. Then in at 8am on Tuesday for three full days of meetings and the occasional trip across the road to the Flower Fairies and Beatrix Potter archives at the V&A Archives in Blythe House.
What do you remember about your first visit?
It’s a really simple thing, but the wall of noise as you enter the show and you’re greeted by that central aisle. I’ve also always been slightly unnerved by Rainbow Productions creations roaming the hallways, they’re amazing, but I don’t trust them!
Have your needs changed in terms of what you want from the show?
Just taking the last two years in microcosm, absolutely. This year we’re in a much stronger position with regards our brands such as Labybird Books: The Vintage Collection and the Flower Fairies where we now have great ranges of licensed product which we are exhibiting and sharing with prospective licensees and retailers, who are becoming an increasingly important part of our meeting schedule.
What do you love most about BLE?
From a business perspective, having conversations with new people that are fresh and enthusiastic about exploring new business opportunities. On a personal level, I always look forward to catching up with old cohorts from previous ‘lives’.
When I’m at BLE one thing I always do is…
Block an hour in my diary to walk the show and take in how the industry is developing and in what direction.
What do you do about lunch?
I go to my local grocer (obviously I can’t express a preference given the BLE Blog readership) over the weekend and stock up on cereal bars, fruit and my secret weapon: liquorice.
What are you on the hunt for this year?
My main aim of the show this year is to work in tandem with the fantastic Start Licensing to present to, and hopefully secure, some exciting new partners for the brands in our portfolio.
What will make it a successful show for you this year?
Getting an inordinate amount of e-mails from Ian Downes as he embarks on his ‘Follow-up Friday’, Thursday arriving without getting a cold and keeping all the samples on the stand.