LICENSING EXPO: Q&A with Sarah Crimes, Director of Marketing, Story.1888

Story.1888 – the creative services wing of licensing agency The Point.1888 – was established in 2021 to offer licensing clients an unparalleled level of support, from product branding and style guides, to product marketing, strategy, content creation and campaign management.

Before the team heads to Vegas for this year’s Licensing Expo, Licensing Biz asked Director of Marketing Sarah Crimes to talk us through the company’s journey so far, the services it offers, and its plans for the coming months.

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Do you want to briefly outline The Point.1888’s USP, its retail-first strategy?

Compared to the traditional licensing model, which follows the pattern of licensor and licensee agreeing on a deal and then finding a retailer to deliver product to consumers, The Point.1888’s methodology reverses that by working with retailers to identify gaps at retail and utilising the brands we represent to fill those gaps with products with purpose. This approach delivers sustainable revenue and increases brand awareness, consumer touch points and brand love, and provides long-term certainty for our clients whilst doing what’s best for retailers, manufacturers and consumers.

What was the thinking behind the launch of Story.1888? (It was an unusual step for a licensing agency to launch a creative agency.) What does the agency do differently?

For over three years now, really since our team expanded in a big way, we’ve been able to offer our licensing clients an exceptionally high level of support in areas such as marketing, advertising, creative and product launches in a way that other agents weren’t able to. We also immediately started getting requests from non-licensing clients, outside of the industry and within, to support them in areas we now had specialists in.

I proposed to Will [Stewart, CEO and founder] that we could set up a sister agency alongside The Point.1888 to house all this in a much clearer way, so internally and externally we could really shout about our expertise. So, Story.1888 was born and immediately we had clients ready to work alongside us on their brands and business strategy.

In terms of what we do differently here at Story.1888, it’s all about our team. But what we really focus on is bringing brand stories to life, and with retail being the heartbeat of everything we do within both agencies, we truly can influence and understand this incredibly important touchpoint and just how to talk to consumers.

Can you give us a flavour of the expertise you have on the team – are people from diverse marketing/advertising/social media/licensing/design backgrounds? Who are the key players?

We are an eclectic bunch, from retail buying, licensing, marketing and advertising backgrounds, experienced in everything from starting companies to working with some of the world’s biggest brands. This allows us to wear many hats, and truly understand how best to tell a brand’s story with retail and consumers at heart.

Story.1888 is led by me, as Director of Marketing, and Martin McLaughlin, who is our Director of Strategy. We both have very varied and differing careers spanning over 30 years collectively. From launching brands, and working on some big advertising campaigns for the likes of T-Mobile, Toyota and Levi’s, to writing and executing brand growth strategies for start-ups and leading new product launches via B2B and B2C, we hope our experience across manufacturing, retail, marketing, events and collaborations can really offer our Story.1888 clients a fresh new way of looking at their business and brand growth.

Can you tell us about the various services that Story.1888 offers clients? How do you bring a brand story to life? 

Our capabilities as an agency are really flexible, to ensure that we can offer a truly bespoke service to our clients. Our work to date has been varied (just like our experience), from creative – things like style guides, pitch documents, mock-ups, logos, branding, and websites – to full-scale campaign idea generation and execution. We have done a lot of strategy and consultancy pieces for brands with specific goals in mind, such as how to launch a new product into the market. I’d say launch strategies seem to be a real area of interest right now and something we are hugely competent in.

We also have businesses working with us on a monthly basis; we provide support with their brand strategy, social media content planning and posting/engagement as well as paid ad campaigns. PR has always been a real strength for us as a business, and we are pleased to have clients we support in their noise creation via PR.

We’ll be attending Licensing Expo in Vegas this year, so if you would like to discuss what we might be able to do for you, please do get in contact!

Looking to the future, is there anything in particular you’re excited about? Trends? New markets and opportunities? Gen Z coming of age? Experiential coming back, post Covid?

We are entering an incredibly challenging period in all our lives from a marketing and consumer reach point of view. There’s no doubt about it, we have all been hit hard by the last few years, and the way we spend our money, and our time, is changing. Yes, we all want experiential again, we want connection to people and places, and we know that will be hugely important for brands to engage with.

But what we are most excited by is really getting to know these changes to consumers’ behaviour and being ahead of the curve when it comes to how they engage with brands and what they choose to spend their hard-earned money on. We have become a more cynical nation in the last few years as well – who can blame us? – which is adding complexity to the way we can successfully market brands. It’s been a tough ride and we all deserve better, and that’s exactly what consumers are demanding! It’s exciting for us as cross-channel marketeers to really get to know just what we can do to support these changes.

What clients have you worked with so far, and what did the campaigns look like? Are there any planned product launches or new partnerships you’re allowed to talk about? 

We have some super-exciting creative work we are leading for some of our clients which will take shape in brand-new licensing programmes hitting the market from 2023 onwards.

We are supporting a leading American drinks brand in their journey over the pond. From marketing and awareness campaigns to retail distribution strategy and delivery – this is going to be a big one and you will find us all over the country this summer trialling the brand and building momentum ready for next year’s launch.

Our most exciting partnership this year (so far) involves a series of marketing and activations featuring a very large inflatable in the shape of a much-loved animal (who happens to be the nation’s favourite sweet!). Sadly we can’t say any more right now, but as soon as we can, we’ll be the first to tell you!

Story.1888 will be at Licensing Expo, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, from 24-26 May 2022. 



Barratt expands its Iceland ice cream range

The popular sweet brand Barratt, owned by Valeo Confectionery, is adding a new selection of classic sweet flavours to its ice cream range, exclusive to Iceland. The range will be available instore from Monday 4 April.

Following on from the existing range of nostalgic sweet shop favourites, the new flavours arrive straight from the Pick n’ Mix aisle and include Dolly Mix, Cherry Cola Bottle, Giant Strawberries, Wham Rocket, Milk Teeth, Refreshers, and Mini Poppets Ice cream bites in mint and salted caramel flavours.

The new flavours are an expansion of the original range, created in 2020, and follow further growth to the range in 2021, where 8 SKUs were added to the ice cream range including Cola bottles, Foam Banana, Milk Bottles and Sherbet Fountain.

With over 3.4 million units of ice cream sold in 2021, the Barratt and Iceland range continues to perform, enabling the Barratt brand to expand into new categories including cheesecakes, with more to come. The success has also helped to showcase the brand and attract further licensees.

Bethan Garton, CCO at licensing agency The Point.1888, which represents the Barratt brand, says: “We’re absolutely thrilled to announce a further 8 SKUs to the Iceland’s Barratt range. The range has gone from strength to strength over the past two years as consumers demand more products that highlight the iconic and fun flavours of Barratt sweets. Iceland have been the perfect partner for Barratt by working collaboratively to deliver truly innovative product.”

Andrew Staniland, Trading Director at Iceland, adds: “We love to bring people together and create memories over good food, and what better way than sharing a delicious, cool treat with your family in time for April’s forecasted heatwave.”

The Point.1888 and EMEA sub-agents sign 48 new deals for CoComelon, Blippi and Morphle

Brand Licensing specialist The Point.1888 and its sub agents across EMEA have signed a raft of new licensee deals for Moonbug Entertainment’s hit brands Blippi, CoComelon and Morphle.

The new deals come on the back of recent news that Blippi is now available on demand via streaming giants Netflix and HBO Max, with Blippi Wonders joining both platforms this spring, Blippi’s Treehouse launch on Amazon Kids+ last December and the launch of Blippi’s best friend Meekah on YouTube last fall.

Morphle launched on Tiny Pop and has seen huge success with the recent launch of clothing on and following the Character Options toy release before Christmas.

CoComelon has continued to go from strength to strength, picking up awards for its consumer products programme, having won Pre-School Toy of the Year at the 2021 Toy Industry Awards. CoComelon is also the number-one most-watched kids’ brand on YouTube globally.

Since coming on board, The Point.1888 has sought to leverage Blippi, CoComelon and Morphle’s popularity and develop a successful consumer products programme that enables the brands to become accessible and fun. In partnership with its sub agents, Brand Energy, CLM, El Ocho, ELC, Evolution of Licensing, Ferly, LDI, Lisans, Partner Plus and Spacetoons, the licensing programme is now strongly established across EMEA.

New partners across EMEA include:

  • 8th Wonder for CoComelon chair and heatable warmer
  • Ackermans for CoComelon apparel
  • Albatros for CoComelon publishing and activity books
  • Alligator for Morphle publishing
  • Amscan for Blippi dress up
  • Aykroyds/ TDP for Blippi nightwear
  • Big Balloon for CoComelon publishing
  • Centum for Blippi & CoComelon publishing
  • Character Options for CoComelon & Blippi toy extensions
  • Cijep Jemini for CoComelon furniture & home
  • Clementoni for CoComelon puzzles & games
  • Diakakis for CoComelon BTS
  • Diamant for CoComelon toy extension
  • Eurofun for CoComelon events & character appearances
  • Famosa for CoComelon plush backpack, 3D cushions, and PJ holder
  • Fashion UK for CoComelon, Blippi & Morphle apparel
  • First Kid for CoComelon inflatables
  • GSS- Amendment for CoComelon toy extension for novelties & inflatables
  • Happiness Is Us for CoComelon chocolate eggs
  • Hunter Price for CoComelon fidget toys
  • Igloo Books for CoComelon publishing
  • Immediate for CoComelon publishing
  • Intersource for CoComelon toys
  • Laceys for CoComelon hardlines, softlines, and FMCG
  • Panini for CoComelon publishing
  • Party Centre for CoComelon
  • Phidal for Blippi & CoComelon publishing
  • Prima Toys for CoComelon toys
  • Rainbow Max for CoComelon & Blippi back to school, stationery, and arts & crafts
  • Rainbow Productions for CoComelon character appearances
  • Relkon for CoComelon confectionery
  • RJ Bags for Blippi & Morphle bags
  • Roy Lowe for CoComelon, Blippi, Morphle & Little Baby Bum hosiery
  • Rubies for CoComelon dress up
  • Showagent for CoComelon events and character appearances
  • Signature for Blippi publishing
  • Sinecast for CoComelon events and character appearances
  • Sodico for CoComelon personal care
  • Soluna for CoComelon live events
  • Spactoon event for Blippi events
  • Suncity for CoComelon apparel
  • TeamTex for CoComelon car seats
  • Toy Pro amendment for CoComelon outdoor & home
  • United Essentials for CoComelon apparel
  • Upcoming Minds for CoComelon board games & hardlines – scooters
  • Visage Textiles for CoComelon crafting textiles
  • Whitehouse Leisure for Morphle amusement plush
  • William Lamb for Blippi bags & footwear

Bethan Garton, Chief Commercial Officer at The Point.1888, says: “We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with so many licensees for Blippi, CoComelon and Morphle. With the consistent growth and popularity that the brands have experienced over the past year, this is the perfect time for new products to launch in the market. We’ve worked extremely hard to ensure the brands have the right partners to deliver product that provides as much fun as the brands do.”

Adam Steel, Director Global Agency, Consumer Products at Moonbug Entertainment, adds: “The rapid growth of our licensee portfolio is a reflection of the strength of our great brands and the great work of the team at The Point.1888. We are looking forward to welcoming new high calibre partners to the Moonbug family and continuing the great work in expanding our current product lines and categories.”

The Point.1888 to represent YouTube hit Super Sema in the UK and Eire

Retail-first licensing agent The Point.1888 has been appointed as the UK & Eire licensing agency for the YouTube Originals series Super Sema.

The animated children’s series, produced by Lupita Nyong’o, is the world’s first series focused on an African kid superhero. The Point.1888 has been brought on by edutainment company Kukua to manage the property’s licensing programme for UK & Eire and to focus on retail initiatives across all categories.

This follows the announcement that UTA will be representing the brand in the North America. Early response to the brand from potential partners across toy, apparel and publishing has reportedly been phenomenal, with retailers very excited about showcasing the property.

This announcement follows The Point.1888’s successful work in building and delivering licensing programmes with other YouTube hits such as Cocomelon, Blippi and Morphle as EMEA Master Agent.

The Super Sema animated series features the world-changing, STEAM-fuelled adventures of a 10-year-old African girl, Sema, and her twin brother MB on a mission to protect their village from a heartless A.I. robot villain. The series is produced by Kukua, with a female-led team that includes chief executive officer Lucrezia Bisignani and actress and children’s author Lupita Nyong’o.

Super Sema‘s first season of 20 five-minute episodes premiered as a YouTube Originals series in March 2021. Its second season will debut this summer, accompanied by a series of educational videos that help kids further explore the STEAM themes and topics from the animated series.

Bethan Garton, CCO at The Point.1888, says: “Super Sema is an incredibly powerful series which embodies strength, curiosity, innovation and confidence. We’re thrilled to be able to play a part in delivering an inspiring role model to kids throughout the UK via product. The team at Kukua have worked to deliver an outstanding property and we can’t wait for more kids to discover Sema and her world.”

Lucrezia Bisignani, CEO of Kukua, adds: “We’re committed to build a franchise that is fuelled by diversity, kid-power, STEAM skills and creativity. One that encourages children to think outside the box, to ask WHY, to care for others and their planet, to celebrate diversity and to become tomorrow’s change makers. A franchise that allows children to bring what they learn on screen into the real world, and the other way around – and to make, create and technovate inventions and solutions for problems that matter and for which we believe this generation of children is uniquely equipped to help solve.

“We look forward to partnering with like-minded and best-in-class licensing and publishing partners to continue to entertain and empower a generation of children.”


The Point.1888 partners with Ricochet to develop The Repair Shop brand

Ricochet, producers of The Repair Shop, has partnered with brand specialist The Point.1888 to explore potential licensing possibilities.  

The hugely popular show, which broadcasts on the BBC in the UK and across the world in various territories, sees a team of Britain’s most skilled craftspeople rescue and resurrect objects their owners thought were beyond saving. Together, the experts pool their talents and resources to restore these priceless pieces of family history, and bring them back to life.

An important goal in the brand licensing strategy, for both Ricochet and The Point.1888, is that every new product for The Repair Shop has a purpose, adding value to the consumer’s life in some way.

Since its creation seven years ago, The Point.1888 has prided itself on working with brands with purpose and authenticity, such as Team GB, which works to inspire younger generations into sport, and Battersea, which homes and cares for cats and dogs.

Janine Richmond, Head of Product and Brand at The Point.1888, says: “To work with a brand that the British public has really taken to heart is such a privilege. There are so many important elements to the show, from all the experts to the contributors and their cherished items, and all will play an important part in shaping our programme. The series plays an incredible role in enhancing people’s lives and so too, we hope, will the products we create.”

Joanna Ball, Managing Director of Ricochet, adds: “The Repair Shop is a very special place and in a short time has built a passionate and loyal audience. We are looking forward to working with The Point.1888 to translate the magic of the barn into product.”


The Point.1888 lands new sub-agents and deals for Jimboart

Art brand Jimbobart has been growing rapidly since it started its brand licensing journey with The Point.1888, with new projects in the pipeline for 2022.

Established in 2009 by illustrator James Ward, the brand focuses on eccentric and fun animal illustrations, each with human traits.

Jimboart enjoyed a record high number of orders for Christmas via Wolf & Badger and other B2C platforms. However, this year is shaping up to be an even bigger year for the brand. Jimboart kicked off 2022 by exhibiting at Top Drawer, showcasing its British Wildlife Collection (with a percentage of all sales being donated to the Sussex Wildlife Trust). There is an art exhibition in the works, and the brand is being stocked at many new retailers including Fenwick.

The buzz around Jimboart aligns with some new developments in the licensing programme. The Point.1888, master-agent of Jimbobart, has signed two new sub-agents – The Licensing Locomotive for Iberia, and Moxie for the US – to help grow the brand internationally.

This comes on the back of two new deals:

  • Tabletop, textiles and barware via Pure Tabletop to launch later this year
  • An ICanvas print deal across North America and Europe (arranged by Moxie)

Following the success of its previous ranges, Elite Tins will continue with the brand and deliver products to retail, including cake, sandwich, and biscuit tins.

Janine Richmond, Head of Brand at The Point.1888, says: “This is such an exciting time for Jimbobart and James. We’ve seen a real surge of interest thanks to the fun and quirky illustrations that bring a smile to your face whenever you see them. Bringing on two new sub-agents and new partners shows the cross-territory appeal of the brand and helps to grow the programme in an authentic and sustainable way. Bring on 22!”.

James Ward adds: “It’s great to see the momentum building up in the licensing programme with activity happening worldwide and more projects in the pipeline. I’m so happy to share my love of nature and wildlife with a growing audience, and it’s so lovely to hear stories from happy customers about their relationships with the animals and characters featured in my illustrations.”

Bethan Garton appointed Chief Commercial Officer of The Point.1888

Retail-focused licensing agent The Point.1888 has gone through a leadership restructure as Bethan Garton is appointed Chief Commercial Officer. The move comes following a hugely successful year in 2021 with the signing of 14 new brands and the launch of two new sister companies, Story.1888 and Spotlight.1888.

Bethan Garton will take over the overall running of The Point.1888, including all commercial aspects, brand management, licensee partnerships, product development, retail, legal and finance, as well as the more recent focus on international growth. She has worked across brand owners, agencies and licensees, and brands such as Star Wars, Fisher-Price, Coca-Cola, L.O.L. Surprise, CoComelon and many more, and has huge category experience.

Will Stewart, CEO and founder of The Point.1888, will have a different focus to help build the new businesses and any future businesses, under the True Purpose Enterprises umbrella. Both Story.1888, the creative marketing agency, and Spotlight.1888, the new retail agency, are now attracting a large number of clients thanks to the complementary nature of all three businesses.

Will Stewart, CEO and Founder of The Point.1888, says: “Bethan has a long-distinguished career in licensing, with more years of experience than me, and is therefore the right person to take the business forward. With her experience, she is perfectly placed to take The Point.1888 to the next level, while inspiring and motivating the amazing team we have built at The Point.”

Bethan adds: “Over the last 12 months, while Will and I have been planning the future of the business, I have already been acting as CCO and wherever possible taking on the running of The Point.1888 to allow Will to focus on new business areas. I’m delighted to take on the role and look forward to working with our incredible team to continue to create leading licensing programmes that excel at retail for our clients.”



The Point.1888 doubles Moomin UK licensing programme with raft of new partnerships

The Point.1888 has announced a raft of new Moomin licensees for the UK market, including The Hut Group and Moonpig.

Since announcing its partnership with Moomin Characters Ltd and Rights & Brands in January 2020, The Point.1888 has focused its retail-first brand extension model to widen both retail and licensing partners on the much-loved heritage brand.

The last two years have been hugely exciting for the Moomin brand, from celebrating their 75th anniversary to launching their ABC initiative, a literacy programme to help develop young readers and writers. This initiative has been hugely successful and will be the basis of a touring exhibition, with the first stop being held at the Eden Project this February half term.

The Point.1888 has now added new partners to the licensing programme, covering a broad range of categories and distribution channels including, but not limited to:

The Hut Group for a DTR consisting of apparel, homewares, furniture, stationery & paper goods, own brand, and collaborations

Fashion UK for kids’ and adult daywear, hosiery, and accessories

Denicci for baby and kids’ day and nightwear

Aykroyds for nightwear, swimwear and underwear

William Lamb for footwear, bags, purses, wallets and umbrellas

Moonpig for personalised POD greeting cards

IAMFY for prints, cushions, and throws

PSTR for print on demand art prints

Heart & Soul for celebration crackers

Artisiana Miniatures for miniature figurines

Potato Cellar for tote bags via Etsy

The Point.1888 has worked alongside Moomin Characters to grow the depth of distribution over the past two years, with licensing deals ranging from a partnership with Oxfam to HMV cross-category activations, through to new lines with dedicated partner Truffle Shuffle for key trade events.

2021 also saw the launch of new babywear SKUs within ASDA George, and new ladieswear lines.

Katie Wilkinson, Head of Publishing & Operations at The Point.1888, says: “We are so privileged to work with Moomin Characters and Rights & Brands on Moomin. It’s a brand whose values are more relevant today than ever before and that chimes so clearly with us as a business and individuals.

“The love for Moomin from both retailers and licensees is palpable and we are excited for how much there is in the pipeline for this brand.”

The Point.1888 secures 7 more licensees for Percy the Park Keeper

The Point.1888 secures 7 more licensees for Percy the Park Keeper

Brand licensing specialist The Point.1888 has secured seven new licensees for publishing brand Percy The Park Keeper.

Created by Nick Butterworth, the popular heritage publishing property has expanded its licensing programme due to the continued popularity of the brand among families. With many of the books’ original readers now having children or grandchildren themselves, they are now looking to share their favourite stories with the next generation. This has allowed the brand to see continued growth and enabled it to bring new partners to the licensing programme.

The new licensees are:

Poetic Brands – Kids’ and baby apparel

William Lamb – Footwear and accessories

Robert Frederick – Stationery, art and crafts, garden

Tonies – Electric audio book box

Anthem – Colouring books

Museums & Galleries – Greetings cards

Portico – Calendars

These agreements represent a huge step forward for Nick Butterworth’s brand licensing programme with The Point.1888, as it aims to bring his portfolio of literary properties to life through consumer products and events.

New partners will start rolling out their products this year, and are the perfect follow-on from the recent success of a nationwide partnership with The National Trust for a family winter trail over the Christmas period.

As well as Percy the Park Keeper, the portfolio includes the hugely popular children’s books My Dad is Brilliant, My Mum is Fantastic, My Grandma is Wonderful, My Grandpa is Amazing, and the Altogether Now series. Nick has sold over 20 million books in more than 35 languages, with Percy the Park Keeper selling more than nine million copies with long-term publisher HarperCollins. HarperCollins’ publishing programme for Percy The Park Keeper will continue to grow in 2022 & 2023.

Olivia Wiggett, Commercial Manager for The Point.1888, said: “We’re delighted to welcome all our new licensees to the Percy The Park Keeper programme. It’s such an exciting time for the brand to celebrate the quality storytelling and genuine emotion and warmth that never gets old. We can’t wait to keep growing the programme alongside Nick and Ben Butterworth [Nick’s son] and our wonderful licensees.”

Ben Butterworth added: “It is great to see the love for Percy amongst people of all ages confirmed in the growth of the licensing platform. We are delighted to be working with such good commercial partners. The Point.1888 continues to do an excellent job in expanding Percy’s licensing programme and we are very excited by what 2022 and 2023 have in store for Percy and his animal friends.”

Percy The Park Keeper partners with the National Trust for nationwide winter trails

The Point.1888 appoints sub-agent Playology to expand programme for TV’s The Raccoons

The Point.1888 has signed Playology International as a sub-agent for Canada to explore new and existing licensing opportunities and partnerships for The Raccoons.

Playology is charged with delivering a licensing programme that will capitalise on the recent resurgence that the TV series has seen, with fans eager for more access and products from the much-loved Canadian show.

This will support The Raccoons’ return to TV after the announcement that the series is being remastered prior to being released on DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as streaming services.

Created in 1985, the animated television series follows the day-to-day life of raccoons Bert, Melissa and Ralph, their friend Cedric Sneer the aardvark and his dad, Cyril Sneer, and their adventures in the Evergreen Forest. For two decades, it engaged the imaginations of families in 180 countries all over the world.

Olivia Wiggett, Associate Commercial Manager at The Point.1888, says: “Many of our team go way back with Playology’s co-founder Jacqueline Vong, and we’re thrilled to finally have the chance to work with her. Playology has a fantastic reputation, and its brand portfolio compliments The Raccoons perfectly. We are certain they will be an amazing partner for the brand in its home country, Canada.”

Jacqueline Vong, Co-founder of Playology, adds: “Growing up in Canada with The Raccoons as a staple on TV and having the opportunity to work on the brand now is a full-circle moment. We can’t wait to introduce The Raccoons to a new generation and their fans again!”