Tracey Colliston’s Owls’ Nest and George Mackay’s Eejits win Festival of Licensing’s License This! competition

Published on: 8th October 2020

The winners of this year’s all virtual License This! competition have been declared, with the grand prizes being handed to the Lancashire-based Tracey Colliston in the Brand & Design category, and George Mackay from Caithness in Scotland in Character & Animation.

It was Colliston’s sentimental Owls’ Nest illustrations of British woodland creatures that won over the judges of the Brand & Design category, celebrating the designs that can currently be found on a line of gifts and greetings cards. Mackay’s Eejits brand took the win in Character & Animation for turning heads with its menagerie of misfortunate misfits born in the Highlands of Scotland.

Tracey Colliston’s Owl’s Nest greetings cards and handmade gifts are currently stocked in over 80 independent retailers across the UK and she would love to see her illustrations licensed across many more categories. 

Tracey Colliston’s Owls’ Nest took home the Brand & Design win

“Winning License This! feels fantastic!,” said Colliston. “I absolutely love what I do, and it means so much to me that the hard work developing Owl’s Nest into a brand has been recognised. I’m very excited about the opportunities this may bring, and I’m keen to develop Owl’s Nest into lots of other products; stationery, ceramics and homeware, baby and nursery and more gift products. The versatility of Owl’s Nest and its collectability will hopefully open up many avenues. It’s so exciting!”

Mackay’s Eejits also currently feature on greetings cards and the creator has equally big ambitions for reaching a much bigger audience. 

An eejit is an idiot, a fool, a gormless ignoramus,” he explained. “Born in the Highlands of Scotland, these weird and wonderful creatures are even rarer than the famous haggis. Due to their incredibly stupid nature and natural curiosity, they have now been collected together for their own safety. A curious collection of creatures gathered together for the world to see.

“The eejits are primarily aimed at seven to 12 year olds, as well as big kids (like me). Their quirky nature, the charming art style and sometimes slightly self-deprecating humour is a draw to kids, and I think they would be ideal for a wide range of products such as soft plush or vinyl toys, but the ultimate dream would be to see the brand feature in hilariously humorous animated shorts. That’s the BIG goal of mine. Seeing the eejits brand on screen would be simply awesome.”

This year’s two License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at Brand Licensing Europe 2021, one year’s membership of industry trade association Licensing International, PR support, and invaluable advice from the panel of industry experts.

In addition, all finalists will receive legal consultation from competition sponsor Wynne-Jones. 

This year’s judges were: 

  • Kelvyn Gardner, Managing Director, Asgard Media (Chair Of The Judging Panel)
  • Sarah Ward, CEO, The Giftware Association 
  • Kirsty Barr, Grapevine PR
  • Sonia Amrar, Trademark Attorney, Wynne-Jones

Character & Animation award

    • Dan Grant, Licensing Director, Danilo Promotions
    • Clare Piggott, Managing Director, Larkshead Media
    • Ben Woodman, Commercial Manager, GB Eye Ltd            
    • Ian Downes, Director, Start Licensing
    • Nico Franks, Editor, C21 Kids 

Brand & Design award

  • Stuart Cox, owner, I Like Birds
  • Vicki Thomas, owner, Vicki Thomas Associates  
  • Sarah Lawrence, director, This is Iris  
  • Jehane Boden Spiers, founder, JEHANE Ltd
  • Will Stewart, founder and managing director, The Point.1888

Character & Animation judge, Ben Woodman said: “I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this year’s judging panel. It’s always exciting to see new properties and brands. I would like to wish George the very best of luck and I certainly hope that we can see him make that transition into the mainstream consumer market.”

 Brand & Design judge, Will Stewart added: “I thoroughly enjoyed being invited to judge the License This! competition again this year. Despite all the challenges of lockdown, the quality of the entries was outstanding once again. This competition provides a huge opportunity for anyone to pivot their career to focus on something they are passionate about: imagine making a living out of something you love!”

 Last year’s winners – Rosie Brooks and Drew Bristow (Carrot & Toast) – are both exhibitors at BLE 2020 and can be found online at  


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