Art and design brand Snowtap to make licensing debut at BLE

Set to appear for the first time at Brand Licensing Europe, Design studio Snowtap has partnered with licensing agent Kirsty Guthrie from KJG to create a range of consumer products based around its beautiful, playful designs.

Established in 2016 by two university friends, Snowtap is the design studio of graphic designer Susy Snow and illustrator Gracie Tapner. The pair met at the University of Westminster in 2011 while studying for degrees in Illustration and Visual Communication.

After graduating, the founders were both working in the industry, when a catch-up over coffee sparked the idea of setting up a studio together. Less than a month later, the pair had launched Snowtap and the initial two greeting card designs had been stocked in their hometown of Newmarket.

The company now boasts over 70 card designs. Featuring witty puns, the cards cover all occasions, with a range of instantly recognisable designs and illustrations created collaboratively using watercolour, line drawing and hand-drawn typography.

Snowtap is now working with Kirsty Guthrie from KJG to build a licensing portfolio around the brand and extend the illustrations to a range of products covering greetings, homewares, stationery, gifts and more.

Susy commented: “We’re really excited to be working alongside Kirsty and for our range of illustrations to have had such a positive reception already from industry leaders. Working as a duo, our designs have double the creative input, resulting in illustrations that are the best of both worlds. Add to this mix some new opportunities to expand our range and the result is a very exciting future for Snowtap with unlimited potential.”

Kirsty Guthrie added: “Snowtap’s designs are absolutely gorgeous, and their clever, funny puns make the artwork ideal for creating a wide range of lifestyle products. Susy and Gracie are incredibly talented and can create illustrations for any purpose and I’m really looking forward to discussing this brand with potential licensees at BLE and building a consumer product portfolio. Our initial conversations have already resulted in a few deals – more to be revealed shortly – and the brand is being incredibly well received over all manner of product categories. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Snowtap.”




Sagoo’s Rilakkuma readies for UK growth with Maggy Harris and Kirsty Guthrie

The Paris-based licensing agency, Sagoo has appointed the KJG’s Kirsty Guthrie and BlueSkye Licensing’s Maggy Harris to manage the UK licensing activity for its increasingly popular kawaii brand, Rilakkuma.

The move has been made as Rilakkuma begins to see increases awareness among European audiences and licensees, spotting an ‘enormous brand potential’ for the IP here in the UK. 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.”

Guthrie has been vocal in the “long-term opportunities” the pair have seen in the UK for the Rilakkuma brand, spanning some of Sagoo’s existing licensed ranges launching in spring next year from Blueprint for stationary, Hype for greetings cards, and Difuzed for apparel and accessories.

Harris, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Sagoo to deliver additional licensing strength to their team in the UK. Kirsty and I both have a wealth of experience licensing cute design based brands and we fell in love with Rilakkuma.” 

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.