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“We need to be aware of the challenge from generic apparel”

VMC Accessories’ Louise Hinds talks new releases, market challenges and top properties.

While the licensed preschool apparel category is a healthy one, it is not without its challenges.

Uncertainty around Brexit, cautious retailers and lack of shelf space are all concerns, however key new and established properties are causing excitement and appetite for product seems undiminished.

PreschoolNews caught up with some of the key licensees in the space to find out how 2018 was and how 2019 is shaping up.

Today: Louise Hinds, licensing and creative director, VMC Accessories

“The preschool category did really well for us in 2018 – Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Hey Duggee in particular were stand out successes. We have seen a decline in PAW Patrol – particularly in the girls’ category – however it is still in our top five characters. Book Week in 2018 was also a great success for us, with our evergreen characters – Paddington, The Gruffalo, Mog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea – seeing growth in sales from our online retailers.

We are definitely seeing more retailer confidence, however this is not without its challenges. The team have worked very hard to give retailers a stepped up fashion-based design direction while staying true to brand identity – this requires a lot of skill and unprecedented knowledge in the category.

Moon and Me is looking very exciting for this year – current stats are really strong – and dress-up wise we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Gruffalo and working on initiatives to maximise this special occasion.

I do think that generic apparel has really stepped up and we need to be really aware of this challenge. We need to justify that extra royalty cost for character product.”

This feature originally appeared in the March/April 2019 edition of Progressive Preschool. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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