The popular preschool property, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is expanding its presence in the toys, role-play, and party space this year thanks to renewed and extended ranges from its master toy partner, Rainbow Designs, as well as product launches from Smiffys, and the Great British Teepee Company.
Play teepees, mats, and cushions all based on Eric Carle’s iconic The Very Hungry Caterpillar are among just some of the newest licensed products to making their way to the UK’s retail space this year, as Rocket Licensing continues to extend the consumer product reach for the hit preschool IP.
The Great British Teepee Company joins a list of new partners, including Findel Education, DNC and Gullivers Theme Park Resorts to embark on new and expansive ventures with the Eric Carle property through partnerships secured by Rocket Licensing, the UK licensing agency.
A range of play teepees, mats, and cushions will launch via the Great British Teepee Company’s eCommerce site and its flagship store this autumn, while Findel Education will introduce a range of educational resources for nurseries and early Childhood centres.
Products featuring the wiggly character are set to include story stones, a storytelling scene and an outdoor board in an international deal covering the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia.
DNC UK Ltd are newly signed for a broad range of homeware items including lunch bags and containers, tableware, hydration and drinkware, cutlery and baby food coolers. With broad distribution across grocery, independent specialist stores, online and mass market, an initial product range is in development to launch in Q1 2022.
Finally, the new experiential partner Gullivers Theme Parks has recently launched its theme park branded activities including character costume appearances and even The Very Hungry Caterpillar accommodation for families to stay overnight in their very own cocoons. The attractions will feature at two of the theme parks’ sites – Gulliver’s Land (Dinosaur and Farm Park) in Milton Keynes, and Gulliver’s Valley South Yorkshire – and there are plans to further develop these activities for next year.
Louisa Skevington, licensing executive, Rocket Licensing, said: “It’s an honour to have these four new partners on board for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Each a best in class player in their own industry, the new deals take the property into new areas, offering exciting new products and experiences for fans in the UK and beyond.
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar has enjoyed great success with experiential campaigns over recent years, including our award-winning partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society in 2019 and successful partnership with ZSL London Zoo earlier this summer, so we’re excited to extend that into the theme park arena too. Meanwhile the range from Findel will satisfy a growing demand among Early Years settings for The Very Hungry Caterpillar related learning and play activities.”
As well as the new partnerships, Rocket Licensing’s existing portfolio of licensees for The Very Hungry Caterpillar have been busy creating fresh products.
Master Toy partner, Rainbow Designs, is launching a refresh of its wooden toy collection this autumn, while Dennicci offered its biggest ever babywear range for spring/summer this year, with up to 20 SKUs launching across grocery retail. Further extensive babywear ranges are now planned for autumn/winter 2021 and spring/summer 2022.
In addition to this, MORI, which launched its inaugural eight-piece The Very Hungry Caterpillar babywear range in February this year – will be building upon the collection’s success with a relaunch of three of bestsellers: the Zip-Up Sleepsuit, Long Sleeve T-Shirt and Printed Pyjamas, as well as the launch of two new sweatshirts this autumn.
Smiffy’s is working on a new The Very Hungry Caterpillar range of paper partyware using the brand’s new Love Your Planet style guide. Meanwhile Robert Frederick launched its new Little Gardener’s Range in May, including Paint Your Own Pots, Paint Your Own Butterfly House, and Garden Tool Set.
Louisa added: “It’s incredible to see so many new lines launching from our brilliant partners. Consumers have been turning to heritage and nostalgic brands during these uncertain times, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a firm favourite across generations over 50 years since it was first published.
“All of our partners create on-brand, bespoke, beautiful products which appeal to a range of ages and these new lines are no exception.”