International greetings acquired Copywrite Designs in 1998 to bolster its licensed stationery and bags business.
Turns out this was a good move for the firm – which was originally set up as a gift wrap manufacturer in 1979 – as Copywrite is now one of the leading stationery suppliers in the business. It currently works with 20 brands and around ten licensors, the biggest of which is Disney.
Big successes in 2010 included Toy Story 3, Peppa Pig and Disney Princess, along with growth in the older age groups with classic properties such as the Muppets and Minnie Mouse. Best selling products include sets such as the Complete Art Pack, plus value items like fold-out filled pencil cases and stationery filled backpacks.
And 2011 is shaping up to be just as busy, brand manager Dan Grant (pictured) explains.
“Spongebob Squarepants is joining the portfolio, plus we’ll be working with some brand new licences including BBC pre-school brand ZingZillas, developing a range of arts, crafts and creative play items. For the tween girls we’ll have a range of fashion stationery for Pink Cookie, while movie releases Transformers 3 and Cars 2 will be complemented by ranges aimed at boys and including elements of the themes from both films. Major launch for all these ranges will be Spring Fair.”
In terms of retail distribution, Copywrite already has a strong platform. Its key retail partners are the likes of Tesco, Asda, Toy R Us, WH Smith and Poundland, which drive big volume opportunities. 2010 also saw the firm begin to trade more with online retailers. A key drive for 2011, however, is to exploit the potential at toy retail even further.
“The toy retailers have always been an important part of the Copywrite Design business – we already work with the likes of TRU, Smyths, Hamleys and The Entertainer,” Grant continues. “However, the potential to work with toy retailers more is very attractive, especially as stationery launches closely follow toy launches at retail, so the impact of having both categories in store in the same period can be massive.
“We also work alongside a number of licensors supplying gift with purchase items as part of toy promotions. With items such as our art packs becoming more popular, there is a good opportunity to sell these alongside toys. The cross category offering is certainly an area we would be keen to exploit further.”
And there are many benefits for toy retailers in stocking Copywrite’s products too, points out Grant. “We offer a full range of price points from impulse and pocket money items to larger gifting products, allowing the retailer to sell something for every occasion. Plus, we hold many of the same big licences as the toy suppliers and the look of the stationery lines is very in keeping with the toys.”
While things are going well for Copywrite, there are still a number of challenges to overcome, says Grant, including maintaining margin while production costs are rising and retail prices are falling. “We believe this is where licences can assist in offering an alternative to just selling on price and turns the product offering into something more premium.”
Overall though, Grant is confident about 2011: “The key objective has to be to successfully bring the newly developed ranges to market on time and create a buzz among retailers, licensors and consumers. In such a tough environment every sale counts and that is dependent on every aspect of the business pulling together and delivering to the best of our abilities.
“Ultimately, growth on 2010 has to be the goal and with a strong licence and product portfolio on offer we believe this is possible,” he concludes.