Rilakkuma eyes UK toy and gift sectors as plush partner discussions get under way

Discussions are underway with potential licensing partners to bring the popular kawaii-inspired character, Rilakkuma to the plush toy sector, strengthening the character brand within the core gift and toy categories as the IP gathers momentum here in the UK market.

Heading up the licensing plans for the IP here in the UK, the Paris based licensing agency Sagoo has tapped KJG’s Kirsty Guthrie and BlueSkye Licensing’s Maggy Harris to manage activity for Rilakumma and its “enormous potential” for the local consumer products market.

Both Guthrie and Harris are well-known to the UK licensing industry and together have established a new bespoke licensing sales service for brand owners looking for local development.

The pair will be working closely with Sagoo to manage, expand, and diversify the Rilakkuma merchandise programme, starting with carefully selected retail launches planned from the late summer.

Veronique Pichon, president of Sagoo France, said: “Awareness of Rilakkuma is building fast among European Licensees and consumers and this is an ideal time to grow Rilakkuma and its enormous brand potential in the UK. We’re delighted to have Maggy and Kirsty on board as Sagoo’s ‘Team UK’.

“They both have a wealth of licensing experience and will strengthen our commitment and ability to build successful partnerships for Rilakkuma across our European territory.”

 Created in 2003 by San-X, Rilakkuma got its name from the Japanese words for ‘relax’ and ‘bear’, summing up the characters approach to life and helping it achieve stand out among the popular kawaii brand sector.

Guthrie said: “Early on in our partnership we both spotted the growing UK market potential for Kawaii brands like Rilakkuma and see long term opportunities here in the UK building on Sagoo’s existing Licensee ranges launching Spring 22 from Blueprint, Hype, and Difuzed.”

Claires Accessories has been one of the early pan-European adopters of the IP, launching Rilakkuma cross-category from early autumn, with stationery, accessories, plush and arts and crafts from existing French licensees.

Here in the UK, both Guthries and Harris are commencing discussions with potential licensing partners for the core toy and gift categories.

“Rilakkuma is a natural fit for plush, gift, and crafting for all ages,” added Harris.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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