ARTiSTORY appoints Liz Bowers as head of business development for the UK

ARTiSTORY has appointed a new head of business development for the UK in the shape of Liz Bowers, the former head of publishing and brand licensing for Imperial War Museums and senior commercial manager at Royal Museums Greenwhich.

With a wealth of experience in building commercial growth for the cultural heritage sector, Bowers has also supported brand extension as a licensing consultant for the Ashmolean Museum and the V&A.

She joins a growing team of licensing experts at ARTiSTORT and will focus on securing licensing partners across a range of categories for the group’s growing client list, which includes some of the world’s most prestigious museums and cultural institutions.

ARTiSTORY brings art and cultural IP licensing to the retailers and consumer brands around the world. The team creates original illustrations and assets, all inspired by art and culture for use on product and packaging, as well as  developing unique shopping experiences with storytelling at its core.

“I’m thrilled to have joined ARTiSTORY at such an exciting time,” said Bowers, head of business development. “I was immediately excited by ARTiSTORY’s business model which is a game-changer for the cultural sector. Our global museums have such a wealth of assets and ARTiSTORY will help to bring these incredible collections and stories to life for new audiences.”

Natasha Dyson, co-founder and licensing director, added: “I’m very happy to welcome Liz to the team. From the outset I was very impressed with Liz’s experience in the museum sector and the results she’s achieved. Not only does Liz have a commercial background but she also brings a wealth of knowledge on how heritage organisations operate, which will benefit the business in many ways.”

The National Gallery taps ARTiSTORY to grow licensing programme on a global scale

The cultural IP licensing specialist, ARTiSTORY has secured a new, multi-year partnership with The National Gallery Company through which it work to expand its licensing programme on a global scale.

Co-founded by Yizan He and Natasha Dyson, ARTiSTORY is a specialist in IP development working with museums, galleries, science centres, and libraries across the globe as it brings a spectrum of creative design, licensing,and retailing capabilities geared towards helping cultural organisations develop their licensing programmes.

The National Gallery is a home to more than 2,600 of the world’s most renowned paintings including 700 years of work from the late 13th to the early 20th century. Founded in 1824, just 38 paintings started what would become a National Collection of art. The gallery covers 46,396 square metres and is located north of Trafalgar Square in the centre of London.

Inspiration for ARTiSTORY’s cultural themes and design assets will derive form the Gallery’s collection of masterpieces by artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Cézanne, Gentileschi, and Van Gogh. The art movements represented in the gallery are various, from renaissance to impressionism, to rococo and romanticism, there is a wealth of stories to share with licensees, to create a range of product collections.

“We are thrilled to be working with Judith and her team and to finally be able to meet in person after so many months of communicating virtually. Adding the National Gallery’s image collection to our portfolio of IP has given us access to many of the world’s most sought after and iconic masterpieces,” said Natasha Dyson, co-founder and licensing director at ARTiSTORY.

“Our creative team have been busy working on our themes, design assets, including illustrations, patterns and prints, ready for launch in July. We can’t wait to see these design applied to products.”

Judith Mather, buying and brand licensing director at the National Gallery, added: “We are very excited about working with ARTiSTORY to further grow our licensing programme.”

A Full English | Golden Goose on putting English Heritage in the product and on the packaging

With over 400 historical and cultural sites across the country as well as a portfolio that spans the ages, from the mysteries of Stonehenge to the art deco interiors of Eltham Palace, the playground of opportunity for the English Heritage brand to explore through consumer products and licensing is vastly exciting.

Couple all of this with the current spike in demand for cultural IP licensing from consumers the world over, each looking to re-engage with the stories and history channeled through the sector, and it’s an enviable position that the UK licensing agency, Golden Goose finds itself in, representing one of the country’s most revered names in historical and cultural conservation.

Here, catches up with Golden Goose’s Helen Webster to learn more about the licensing specialist’s plans for the English Heritage brand, and why developing consumer products for a name so rich with history means ensuring that ‘English Heritage is in the licensed products, as well as on the packaging.’

Hello Helen, thanks for talking to us this month. To kick us off, could you give us an overview of the English Heritage brand, its role in maintaining, safeguarding and promoting some of the country’s most historical sites, and the values that the brand brings to the licensing space?

The English Heritage brand is one of the UK’s best known and most respected heritage brands. English Heritage wants people to experience the story of England where it actually happened so their sites and properties offer an imaginative, true to the story, carefully curated experience aimed at inspiring people of all ages. Alongside this, English Heritage works to ensure their sites and properties  – which include Stonehenge, Osborne House, Kenwood House and Dover Castle –  and the thousands of historic artefacts in their care are conserved and expertly cared for such that they can also be enjoyed by future generations.

As such, the values inherent in the English Heritage brand are authenticity, quality, inspiration, responsibility and fun; all of which are values that will flow through the English Heritage licensing programme and connect with today’s consumers and the way they want to blend history into their lives.

Looking over the English Heritage website and shop, the brand has already made headway in the licensing space. How is Golden Goose leveraging the rich heritage of the brand itself to build on the licensing portfolio?

Also, where do you even begin with building out a programme for such a revered name as English Heritage?

While it is clear from past activity that the English Heritage brand has enormous potential, this is really the first time that licensing is receiving the level of internal focus that it needs to achieve significant scale. Because we are working directly with Kingston Myles who is the Head of Commercial Development, we can leverage all of the EH brand assets, from the trademark to the collections archive right and on to the multi channel commercial operation which includes over 100 retail outlets, 35 café’s and a portfolio of  holiday cottages.

Having an expert point of contact with Kingston allows us to target the biggest potential categories and opportunities cohesively. To date we have even been able to start scoping out international markets where the brand has impact, such as South Korea.

“Our approach to licensing English Heritage means ensuring that the English Heritage brand is ‘in’ the licensed products as well as ‘on’ the packaging.”

How has ‘heritage licensing’ changed over recent years, what do consumers expect in terms of brand narrative and story telling in ‘heritage licensing’ today, and how will this be reflected in your approach to licensing English Heritage?

With the lockdowns causing a massive shortfall of visitation and thus creating income gaps for most heritage brands, there are certainly more heritage brands keen to penetrate the market and benefit from quicker wins. Our approach to licensing English Heritage, however, will be to ensure we put in place a long-term strategic licensing programme that is well aligned with the brand’s core values and purpose. This means ensuring that the English Heritage brand is ‘in’ the licensed products as well as ‘on’ the packaging.

English Heritage is not only a well established brand itself, but with over 400 sites across the country, has a portfolio of rich cultural history that spans the ages. The licensing and story telling potential it boasts must be incredibly exciting. What level of creativity does the portfolio afford you? 

Thanks to the more than 400 properties that English Heritage manages and maintains there is a rich treasure of design inspiration available; from the art deco interiors of Eltham Palace, the beautiful prints and patterns inside Audley End House and of course the Victorian splendour of Osborne House.

There are many design eras available to inspire licensees however, in addition to being a rich asset bank, English Heritage is very much a living brand so our licensees will not only be able to draw from a wonderful design heritage and use these assets as is for specific product categories but others will also be able to use the asset bank to inform and inspire beautiful, useful products for today’s consumers and today’s preferences for colour, scale and detail.

How can licensing unlock history for new generations?

There is plenty that EH is already doing to appeal to new generations and we see that more as a core attribute of the brand rather than something that could be used purely to create licensed products. However, we are looking into toys, puzzles, dress up and other categories that will bring the brand to life for new generations while also helping them learn about and appreciate the rich seam of history that English Heritage represents.

How has the consumer’s relationship with ‘heritage licensing’ changed in the last 12 months? Has lockdown and the pandemic changed the way in which people want to experience art and culture? How does this influence your licensing strategy?

The market was already seeing a resurgence in the consumer’s interest in all things heritage and the authenticity and quality this can represent but the last year has accelerated this and also positioned “heritage” alongside other accelerating consumer interests in and around sustainability and our environment, where authenticity and quality also play their part. This is very much playing into our licensing strategy.

Further, I think consumers have tuned into online shopping more than ever before which means that they expect the products that they can imagine to be available. This presents opportunities for print/manufacture on-demand licensees, of course, but now that things are opening up again, EH are hoping to see visitors return to sites and their shops.

Hopefully, our English Heritage licensees, where relevant, will be able to tap into any opportunities that arise through the English Heritage stores, too.

“We’re looking into toys, puzzles, and dress up to bring the brand to life for new generations while helping them learn about the rich seam of history that English Heritage represents.”

What categories or licensing partners will be key to you as you build on the English Heritage portfolio? What will the lifestyle, home, and garden licensing spaces span, and how will you look to tell the story of English Heritage through these?

All things home, home décor and garden are key to the English Heritage brand and it’s no surprise that we will shortly be unveiling our first tentpole licensee who will be working across fabrics, wallpapers and home décor internationally.

The rich English Heritage asset bank, the stories behind the patterns and designs in their properties, their fabulous gardens and the credibility of the English Heritage brand itself will be essential ingredients in telling the story of English Heritage through their licensed products.

What can we expect from English Heritage in the licensing space in the coming year and beyond? What’s the next step for you guys in the sector?

You can expect us to deliver high quality, aspirational products that appeal to the discerning consumer who wants a product that delivers on everything heritage stands for in their own homes, whether that be  in furniture, fabrics, bedding, fragrance or other lifestyle products.

In addition, you can expect some surprises because, as an agency, we are always looking for ways to move the needle and gain momentum that opens the doors to new product categories and markets.

ARTiSTORY expands global reach with new US office and development in Southeast Asia and Oceania

ARTiSTORY is expanding its global reach with the opening of its US office where it will serve its portfolio of IP clients in the North American market. At the same time, the business’ Singapore office has officially welcomes a new force to lead development of the Southeast Asia and Oceania markets.

Co-founded by Yizan He and Natasha Dyson, ARTiSTORY is a specialist in cultural IP licensing with capabilities in transforming “Artifacts to Merchandise” and creative contents. The outfit reaches a global audience with merchandise and promotional licensing inspired by art and culture.

The addition of the US and Singapore operation grows ARTiSTORY’s global presence, now covering markets across Asia and Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as America. Co-Founder Yizan He is also serving as a General Partner of Sinofaith IP Investment Company (SIPIC), an entity that embarks on a unique “IP+Investment” business mode by injecting premium IP rights and working capital to empower startups in the art and culture sector.

Supported by SIPIC, ARTiSTORY has made clear its determination to ‘build a genuinely global powerhouse of art, cultural and science related IP and a full ecosystem of IP licensing business.’

Anna Stein has now joined the firm as country manager and business development director for North America and will work closely with Yizan He and Natasha Dyson. Stein has a background in art history and brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the role after having worked in global licensing for over 15 years.

Previously, she has worked for major studios such as Nickelodeon and Twentieth Century Fox, as well as working on the manufacturing and the agency side of licensing.

“I am really impressed by the licensing model that ARTiSTORY has created and excited to work with new partners with this innovative company,” said Stein.

With Alicia Chen joining our Singapore office as country manager and business development director, she will work closely with Yizan He, UK and US office to develop Southeast Asia and Oceania markets. Having over 12 years of solid business development experience in B2B and B2C environment with C-level decision makers and national consulates across Asia markets; enhanced with Master of Science qualification in Marketing, Alicia has been focusing on lifestyle, and FMCG related sectors.

“I am delighted to be joining the team and looking forward to working together with the international team closely,” said Alicia Chen.

Yizan He, co-founder and CEO of ARTiSTORY, concluded: “We are thrilled to see both Anna and Alicia bring a vast array of resources to the international team. Together with these talents, we are ambitious to become a strong voice in the cultural enterprising scene across the globe.”

Horticultured | The Royal Horticultural Society on bringing 200 years’ of gardening history to new audiences

From garden tools to wine, and chocolates to canvas shoes, all via the mulch aisle, when the Royal Horticultural Society puts its name to something, it carries with it the weight of over 200 years’ of rich heritage and authority on the subject of the country’s unerring love affair with the garden and the produce of the natural world it inhabits.

At a time in which heritage licensing is witnessing a stark upwards curve in demand from consumers today, while gardening is seeing an equal surge in consumer interest from across the age ranges, spanning children an families, to young adults and of course the core audience within which the RHS brands sits, it’s understandable that the organisation’s licensing division has become a hive of activity, abuzz with excitement over its latest developments in the space.

Here, catches up with Cathy Snow, licensing manager at the RHS to find out how the firm brings its 200 years of history to the contemporary licensing space, what audiences are demanding from the heritage licensing sector today, and how the Royal Horticultural Society is embracing and encouraging new audiences to explore Britain’s own back gardens.

Hello Cathy, thank you for chatting with us today. To kick us off, could you give us an overview of the RHS brand and the values that it brings to the licensing space? How does the brand’s licensing efforts work to promote the ethos of the RHS, from wildlife and conservation to health and wellbeing?

Cathy Snow, Licensing Manager, RHS: “Inspiring everyone to grow” is our brand message and gardening has been our focus for over 200 years. But we turn this messaging into action. The Royal Horticultural Society is a charity, yes, but it’s also a campaigning institution, an educational powerhouse, and the owner of some of the most popular visitor centres and gardening shows in the country, regularly attracting millions of people. We also support everyday gardening and its proven physical and mental benefits, many of which became more apparent than ever last year.

Of course our licensing work helps us to fund these efforts and raise awareness of them. But licensing itself has to fit in with the brand and its ideals. Sustainability and good ethical and environmental practices are important in our campaigning work but also important in terms of choosing partners and supporting their manufacturing processes. 

The RHS brand is a hugely reputable and deeply respected name. How do you leverage the rich heritage of the brand itself to build on the licensing portfolio? Where do you begin with building out a programme for such a revered name as RHS?

The overall RHS licensing campaign, quite reasonably, references the brand’s rich British history. But it does a lot more than that. Our products succeed in the marketplace because we look at our core strengths and assets and focus on products centered around those. This approach is especially notable in the gardening category, where high-quality tools and stylish garden furniture are promoted alongside peat-free gardening products, and an extensive range of core gardening essentials suited to every level of gardening ability.

“More heritage organisations than ever are entering the licensing arena and developing licensed products – but the best of them are not solely focused on commercial gain.”

However, this approach also influences other categories, which aim to raise awareness of our work and ideals. Many designs – including those used on a growing selection of adult apparel – are inspired by imagery from the RHS Lindley Collections, the world’s largest collection of botanical art. Scholastic UK has launched a programme of entertaining, informative and beautifully illustrated activity books for children aged seven to 12, encouraging readers to explore and enjoy nature outdoors. Information on tags and packaging helps to promote our work. Our children’s clothing promotes gardening in a fun way with veg and plant imagery and witty slogans. And of course many of our products are made by craftspeople and sourced in the UK.

Whatever the category the licensing team work with licensees and retailers not only to provide the best possible products but also to educate consumers about gardening and share our own love of horticulture with everyone no matter their age, ability or gardening space. 

How has ‘heritage licensing’ changed over recent years, what do consumers expect in terms of brand narrative and story-telling in ‘heritage licensing’ today, and how is this reflected in your approach to licensing RHS?

More heritage organisations than ever are entering the licensing arena and developing licensed products – but the best of them are not solely focused on commercial gain. RHS licensed products must be relevant, appropriate and the best quality possible. If we don’t think a product is right for the RHS, we won’t approve it.

Consumers expect RHS licensed products to outperform other similarly available items; if a customer buys a pot with a 10-year frost-proof guarantee they expect it to last for more than 10 years. This is why we carefully approve every product and check its performance and quality. 

And of course, the brand narrative – inspiring everyone to grow – influences all our partnerships, from garden tools to wine and chocolates, and from mulch to canvas shoes.

The licensing and story-telling potential that RHS boasts must be incredibly exciting. What level of creativity does the depth of the portfolio afford you with your licensing plans? How are you applying innovation in licensing to new and varied audiences?

The RHS style guides are an obvious starting point. They make use of the RHS Lindley Collections – the world’s largest collection of botanical art, including some 25,000 works. This is the perfect combination of exciting and original but also highly appropriate material.

However, the RHS encourages licensees to use the Collections as they see fit – the art is an inspiration rather than a rulebook. For example, the recent Hotter range of canvas shoes created two exclusive repeat pattern designs from Lindley Collections illustrations to deliver something unique and evocative, while the Oasis design team re-sketched its chosen images by hand for a series of prints to be used in a new fashion collection.

“Gardening came into its own in pandemic-hit 2020 when RHS gardening product licensees saw a surge in sales, and the health benefits (physical and mental) of gardening were not just interesting insights but news headlines.”

Regularly refreshed style guides add to the choice. One such was the very successful RHS Licensing Geometric Style Guide 2018; this uses Parterre and knot garden styles dating from the 1600s and 1700s to reflect the trend for geometric designs. Another was a style guide for children’s products – building on the charity’s success in outreach for children, families and schools, and in child-friendly events at its gardens and shows.

And yes, there are new audiences, and we constantly monitor home and garden trends. For instance, our supporter base is changing. A younger audience is discovering the benefits of outdoor spaces and gardening. We’ve therefore expanded our product portfolio into products for children, families and younger adults, and children’s products will be a major focus for the RHS in the post-pandemic world. A recent success was an association with the award-winning George brand that produced a fabulous collection of children’s clothing and accessories aimed at one to seven year olds. There’s also been an RHS-inspired series of children’s books from Scholastic UK. 

How can licensing unlock the values of gardening, the outdoors, nature, wellbeing and all that RHS stands for with new generations?

For our gardening products – a major part of our licensed offering – there’s a clear link. And of course, gardening came into its own in pandemic-hit 2020 when RHS gardening product licensees saw a surge in sales, and the health benefits (physical and mental) of gardening were not just interesting insights but news headlines.

But even with homeware, apparel, confectionery and other non-gardening categories we aim to use packaging and POS to inform and educate where we can. We have thousands of botanical artworks available to licensees, many of which inspire product designs. These help to raise awareness of our gardens, flower shows, research, education and the excellent advice and information we can offer on all horticultural matters.

We always try to innovate and lead; this is reflected in our licensed products.

As for new generations, the move into children’s products – which actually started before Covid and lockdown – reflects the changing age of our supporters and, of course, the many initiatives the RHS as a whole has in place for children and schools.

How has the consumer’s relationship with ‘heritage licensing’ changed in the last 12 months? Has lockdown and the pandemic changed the way in which people want to experience art and culture? How does this influence your licensing strategy?

Consumers seem to be looking for products made by hand and closer to home, which we encourage, where feasible, through relationships with craft groups and UK-based partners. The growing public appeal of craft suppliers and companies based in the UK, as well as sustainability – in particular with the younger audience – fits in well with the brand values of the RHS.

Recyclable packaging, less plastic, low-impact manufacturing – these have always been aims of ours, but consumer awareness of environmental issues is now growing, and manufacturers are responding to this.

Another trend has been a huge increase in royalties for products for the home and especially the garden, not to mention more distribution channels opening up as retailers who might not normally look at gardening products or licensed products adjust to meet demand. 

“We won’t ever be complacent, but we do think we are now well positioned to grow the brand even more without compromising its values.”

What categories or licensing partners will be key to you as you build on the RHS portfolio? What will the lifestyle, home, and garden licensing spaces span, and how will you look to tell the story of RHS through these?

We’ve enjoyed enormous success in the ongoing expansion of our category portfolio and this expansion will continue. However, we also hope to strengthen existing product categories and in particular are looking to expand in homeware, children’s products and apparel. Partners with strong ethical and environmental credentials and those that highlight UK craftsmanship will remain a major part of our programme too.

Gardening will always be our core category and we aim to continue to target keen gardeners and would-be gardeners who are looking for quality and inspiring products to support their interest. But gardening too has branched out: luxury garden sheds, premium boots, trellises, indoor pot covers and the very successful RHS Gifts for Gardeners range are all indicators that the RHS is continuing to seize opportunities in both established and new categories.

The programme overall is well established and balanced: it’s making more money for the charity than ever while still reflecting our values and insisting on carefully chosen licensing partners. We won’t ever be complacent, but we do think we are now well positioned to grow the brand even more without compromising its values. 

What can we expect from the RHS in the licensing space in the coming year and beyond, what’s the next step for you guys in the sector?

We’ve announced several new partnerships so far this year (including hand-iced biscuits from Biscuiteers and children’s clothing from George) and more are to come. Some projects that were delayed last year are launching over the next few months. It has been – and still is – a really busy period. We’re expanding our small team and looking for a new Senior Licensing Development Executive and Licensing Development Executive to help generate new business and develop existing licensing partnerships.

The RHS gardens and shows are ready for a strong post-lockdown visitor response. This is an exciting time for us as a licensing team and for the RHS as a leading Heritage organisation.

Artifacts and the arts effect | ARTiSTORY explores cultural IP licensing’s current burst of energy

With the reopening of cultural and heritage sites and museums across the globe, so too is the cultural IP licensing space seeing a burst of energy, fuelled by increased staffing and a renewed understanding of its importance towards the success of the sector.

Co-founder and managing director of ARTiSTORY, Yizan He, has told that increased staff across the licensing arms of many global cultural organisations is ‘an excellent sign of the realisation of the value of IP licensing.’

“Many cultural organisations have realised the potential that a licensing programme can achieve for them in terms of revenue stream and engagement with a wider global audience,” Yizan He explained.

“Many have already set up their licensing programmes in recent months, particularly during the pandemic when most museums were closed. On the other hand, cultural organisations are getting a lot more inquiries from brands, retailers, and licensing agencies.

“The cultural licensing sector is undoubtedly growing rapidly.”

ARTiSTORY has witnessed the growth first hand, having seen the business establish a fully global presence in the short few months since it was launched in 2020. The firm’s portfolio now includes the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, while it is close to announcing a new partnership with a major London museum, and making preparations to add a leading American museum and a top performing Chinese IP to the mix in the coming weeks.

With the art and cultural IP space proving to be such a rich ground for licensing right now, we caught up with ARTiSTORY’s Yizan He to learn more about the team’s plans.

Hello Yizan, it’s been a while since we last caught up! How has the ARTiSTORY business and portfolio grown and progressed since then? With cultural sites and museums now reopening, what is the mood in the space like right now?

ARTiSTORY has been growing rapidly since we started our business in 2020. Our portfolio includes the National Palace Museum from Taiwan, we’re close to announcing a leading London museum and we will soon add a leading American museum and a Chinese top IP to our portfolio in the next few weeks. 

Our master license rights with these art and cultural organisations cover all key markets such as the EU/UK, North America and Asia. Our creative teams in Asia and Europe are currently developing the 2022 art and cultural IP licensing trends and themes which will be released in July this year. 

With museums and cultural organisations reopening, many organisations are now adding staff to drive the licensing business, which is an excellent sign as cultural organisations have realised the importance and value of IP licensing.


How has the art and culture licensing sector performed over the past year? There have obviously been hardships across the live sector, what impact, if any did this have on the licensing aspect? Did it drive demand further, did it fuel a shift to licensing in any capacity?

Driven by the growing demand for art and cultural IP, the cultural licensing sector is snowballing, which has caught many by surprise. As reported by Licensing International in early May 2021, that art and cultural IP has risen from merely one per cent in 2015 to 18.7 per cent in terms of the retail value of licensed merchandise in China in 2020. Art and cultural IP has become the second most important property type.

There is a visible impact as more and more retailers and consumer brands are embracing art and cultural IP licensing as ways to engage shoppers and improve profit margins. Many companies have tapped into art and cultural IP in recent years from luxury brands such as LVMH to global retailers such as Uniqlo and Zara. That will further inspire more brands and retailers to explore art and cultural IP.


What role has ARTiSTORY played in the art and culture/heritage licensing space over this period? What is it that ARTiSTORY brings to the culture licensing sector, and how does this differ from the licensing agencies out there?

ARTiSTORY has a unique business model that sets us apart from licensing agencies. First of all, we secure a multi-year exclusive master license agreement covering a full range of merchandise in our markets, and of course, with a commitment to Minimum Guaranteed Royalties. Secondly, we invest heavily in the annual art and cultural theme and design asset development, an essential component in any cultural licensing program and we own the copyrights of the design assets. We then enter into licensing agreements with consumer brands and retailers directly, and support them with versatile forms of marketing and storytelling such as live stream, short videos, social media campaigns on Tiktok, and immersive store windows and installations.    

As a pioneer and innovator in the cultural licensing sector, ARTiSTORY’s founding members have previously developed some of the most successful licensing programs for the world’s top museums such as the British Museum, the V&A, the MET, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, and National Gallery. We hope to bring our new business model to the cultural licensing sector.

What do museums and galleries gain from working with ARTiSTORY as opposed to other licensing agencies? How do you separate yourselves from the competition in this sector?

There is a wide range of tangible benefits that museums and cultural organisations would benefit from a licensing program.  Firstly, there is immediate and recurrent revenue as ARTiSTORY commits financially with advance payments upon signing the master licensing agreement. On top of the advance payments, there are running royalties that we would share with our museum partners every quarter.  

Most importantly, every licensed product comes with a card that illustrates the artefacts from the museum’s collection where the design inspirations come from.  Additionally, all promotional licensing partnerships across a truly diverse array of industries recognise the collaborating museum, which promote the awareness of the museums. Our licensing programmes have expanded the museums’ reach to a much broader global audience, inspiring them to learn more about the museums.   

What role do you think ARTiSTORY has to play in the future of the art & culture / heritage licensing sector? How are you guys innovating in the sector and helping shape a future for licensing within it?

Our business model has been proven unique and compelling. We will continue to ride on the momentum, beef up our storytelling and marketing capabilities, and expand our licensing program in new markets such as the EU/UK and North America. We aim to become a truly global player.

To stay ahead of the competition, we are already working on various storytelling as an additional dimension to engage more audiences more effectively. For example, our immersive team is working on immersive store window designs, immersive pop-up stores, and installation that our licensees and retailers can leverage for better shopper acquisitions and conversion. We’ve gained an excellent response from our licensees and now offer these immersive components as part of our licensing package.


When it comes to licensing, why is this an important sector to get right? What can good licensing do for the heritage or narrative of a cultural brand? Also, when working with brands steeped in history and heritage, what sort of pressure is there to get the licensing tone right first time? 

This is a very good question. The core mission of a museum is about conservation, research, and education. During the development of the licensing themes, artefact selection, and content creation, we work closely with our museum partners so that we can maintain a high level of accuracy in terms of the narratives that we develop while staying sensitive about different cultures and markets. 

We enjoy outstanding support from all our museum partners. For example, the licensing team at National Palace Museum has provided us with their curatorial advice and suggestion of artefacts when we jointly work on the upcoming 2022 themes.  

In the future, we will also be developing art education programs that in one way, extend cultural organisations’ core mission of educating the public and in another, leverage the value of art and culture in key education systems and markets. 

What are some of the most exciting partnerships (your own or others) in the heritage licensing space at the moment? What inspiration do you or can you draw from these?

I am glad that there are more and more inspirational art and cultural IP licensing programs in recent months, such as Spanish fashion retailer Pull & Bear taps into modern and contemporary art as their licensing program with the Tate feature artworks by Kandinsky. 

Uniqlo has already launched many programs with MoMA and recently with the Louvre. In the Far East, National Palace Museum has a wide range of well designed and crafted licensed products. The list goes on…

Is the cultural licensing sector heading in the right direction?

Yes, many cultural organisations have realised the potential that a licensing program can achieve for them in terms of revenue stream and engagement with a wider global audience. Many have already set up their licensing programs in recent months, particularly during the pandemic when most museums were closed. 

On the other hand, cultural organisations are getting a lot more inquiries from brands, retailers and licensing agencies.  The cultural licensing sector is undoubtedly growing rapidly.

And before we let you go, what’s the next step for ARTiSTORY?

ARTiSTORY has assembled a sales team covering various European markets, and sales training is already underway. Our next step is to establish our head office in the US and build a sales network there. It is our strategic goal that we would achieve our coverage on three key markets – the EU/UK, North America, and Asia – making ARTiSTORY a truly global player offering full market coverage to our museum partners as well as our clients.  

Thank you, Yizan. Is there anything you want to leave us with?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with the audience about my company. ARTiSTORY looks forward to contributing more to the cultural licensing sector.