Bulldog signs new licensees for Care Bears

Bulldog Licensing has added two new licensees to the consumer products programme for much-loved heritage property Care Bears, providing new categories for the brand’s many fans across the globe.

Character World is bringing its fashion-forward style on board to offer a range of bedding and soft furnishings for fans, allowing them to recreate their very own Care-a-Lot clouds in their bedrooms.

Meanwhile, Eat Glitter and Shine has partnered with the property to design a collection of homewares featuring the globally recognised bears. The range of FDA-approved kids’ and baby dinnerware will include melamine dishes, bowls, plates, and cups. The products will be dishwasher safe, and will bring the likes of Cheer Bear, Bedtime Bear, and Love-a-Lot Bear to mealtimes.

First created in 1982, Care Bears is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The Care Bears have grown through various looks and styles, but the rainbow colours, main characters, and unique belly badges, along with the core messages of kindness and caring, remain the same.

Care Bears is loved by all generations, from children who watch the Care Bears: Unlock the Magic animated television series, to their parents and grandparents, who are able to relive the magic from their childhoods, and everyone in between.

Sophie Yates, Licensing Executive, Bulldog Licensing, says: “For a property to still be partnering with new licensees for fresh, modern collections in its 40th year is incredible. Care Bears continues to spread relatable and important messages of kindness, care and love, and as such, has a place in the hearts of so many. We are careful to select best-in-class licensees to really portray the core of the Care Bears, and we are certain that Character World and Eat Glitter and Shine will be fantastic new partners for Care Bears as it celebrates its milestone anniversary.”

Roubina Tchoboian, VP of International Licensing, Cloudco Entertainment, adds: “Our 40th anniversary year continues to offer Care Bears’ fans new, fun, and exciting collaborations with like-minded partners that share our core values. We look forward to seeing how our global audience will react to the Eat Glitter and Shine collections.”

Character World to continue sustainability drive in 2022 and beyond

Leading manufacturer and distributor of licensed home textiles and accessories Character World has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability in 2022 and beyond. 

For the past two years the company has been working on and delivering against its sustainability plans, looking at all aspects from product to packaging, shipping to consumer care.

Adam Howarth, Character World’s Supply Chain Director, says: We believe that a good night’s sleep doesn’t have to cost the earth. Sustainability is not just something that we have approached from a single angle or for a single range, we are looking at it across the whole business… We know that this is an ongoing project and a journey that will continue to develop and evolve in collaboration with our partners.”

Some key changes that Character World has made start with the products themselves. The company now uses only responsibly sourced BCI cotton, plus it is offering retailers the option of recycled polyester for their polyester and polycotton bedding products.

Character World’s latest development, Coverless Carefree Bedding, uses recycled plastic bottles for the filling, helping to reduce plastic waste and the subsequent amount of plastic in our oceans.

The company has also collaborated with Lego and JYSK for sustainable packaging options. The packaging for the Lego City bedding was developed using recycled card, is fully recyclable and contains no single-use plastic.

Mark Champkins, Learning Lead, LEL Sustainability Transformation at Lego, says: “Character World has been proactive in supporting us to work toward our aim that by 2025 all LEGO packaging will be made from renewable or recycled materials and will be easy for consumers to recycle, to avoid it ending up in landfill. We look forward to continue working with Character World towards our 2025 goal.”

In addition, Character World is committed to driving post-consumer purchase developments via its partnership with WRAP, who make it easy for customers to easily find their local recycling banks.

The company is also proud to be a member of Products of Change and one of the sponsors of the Sustainability in Licensing Conference, and is working within the licensing community to drive sustainable change by championing ideas and best practices across the industry.

“Character World is committed to helping make the world better for future generations, and we look forward to working in partnership with suppliers, licensors, retailers and consumers on the journey,” concludes Adam Howarth.



Character World names new CEO

James Walker has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Character World.

James combines 25 years’ experience in retail, licensing, brands and digital commerce and has held global senior management positions at Disney, Hasbro and McArthurGlen.

Danny and Mark Schweiger will continue in their roles as Joint Managing Directors and will work alongside James in delivering the Company’s business plan.

Danny and Mark in a joint statement said:

“Over the last 17 years many of the team have worked closely with James both at Disney and Hasbro. More recently, James has been working with Character World to develop a growth strategy with plans to take the company to new levels.

“We enter 2022 looking forward to unlocking this exciting new chapter of our business with our brand and retail partners with James’ experience and leadership.”

James said: “I am delighted to be joining Character World at such an exciting time for the business. Both the industry and sectors Character World work in are in a strong position and we see exciting growth opportunities across multiple areas.”

The company will be targeting growth in its core business as well as accelerating the evolution of e-commerce and digital, distribution opportunities and expanding its success in Health and Wellness.

Character World dreams big with £14.5m Secure Trust Bank finance deal



Character World dreams big with £14.5m Secure Trust Bank finance deal

Licenced textile product provider Character World has secured a £14.5m refinance package from Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance, as it plans for growth in 2022.

The business has increased its working capital facility from £8m to £10m after four years of working with the bank, to help meet increased demand for its products. Secure Trust Bank has also provided an additional £4.5m term loan to refinance an outstanding unitranche facility that was put in place when Palatine Private Equity backed the business in 2014.

Cheadle Hulme-based Character World is the leading manufacturer and distributor of licensed bedding for children in the UK and Europe, allowing the best-loved characters from brands like Fortnite, Minecraft, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, PlayStation, Lego, and Pokémon to become part of their world.

Founded as a family business in 1998 by Tommy Schweiger and his son Danny, the 52-strong firm has been under the stewardship of Danny and his brother Mark for almost 20 years and has partnerships with some of the biggest names in UK retail including Amazon, Primark, Aldi, Tesco, Asda, Littlewoods and Next.

The firm reported over a 20 per cent increase in turnover following the Covid-19 lockdown, as consumers turned to online shopping. As the business looks ahead to its busiest period of the year, in the run-up to the festive season, the additional £2m working capital facility will allow Character World to invest in new licenses, new revenue streams and meet further increases in demand.

“Business is going really well and we’re pleased to be able to utilise our existing relationship with Secure Trust Bank to further this growth,” says Max Paterson, finance director at Character World. “Their understanding of our business – having worked with us for four years – has made the process much easier for us. We know that we can have proactive discussions with the team and that they are willing to find the right solution to support us where perhaps other lenders may not have been so flexible.

“Moving forward, we want to maintain the positive results we have seen following the increase in online shopping and the backing we’ve received from Secure Trust Bank will help us to do that.”

Paul Johnston, regional managing director at Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance, said: “Over the last four years working with Character World, we have developed a strong relationship with the team, fostered a deep understanding of its business and used our knowledge of ABL to create flexible facilities that can evolve with the business. Our continuing work with Character World underlines our commitment to forming long-term partnerships with clients and helping them to thrive.”




Character World tucks in with Swizzels for bedding, blankets, and more

Character World is helping kids tuck in to the confectionery specialist Swizzels Matlow with a new range of bedding, blankets, towels and more based on some of its most popular brands.

In a deal brokered by Blonde Sheep Licensing, the initial range is due to online this year with a focus on the Love Hearts brand, with further lines to be added throughout the year.

Swizzels is the largest independent British owned manufacturer of sugar confectionery in the UK and is still run by members of the families who founded the business back in 1928. The company makes a range of well-known products including Love Hearts, Squashies, Refreshers, Drumstick Lollies, Rainbow Drops, Double Lollies and Fruity Pops.

Tim Kilby, eCommerce and brand director at Charter World, said: “Character World is delighted to be working with Swizzles. We are looking forward to bringing Love Hearts to life in homes throughout the UK later this year.”

Natasha Dyson, managing director at Blonde Sheep Licensing, added: “It’s fantastic to have Character World on board for the bedding category. The Swizzels brands have broad appeal and their bright colours paired with Character World’s retail network will add cheer to bedrooms all over the UK.”

Blonde Sheep Licensing continues to investigate other opportunities for Swizzels in categories including jewellery, toys and social greetings.