New York City-based Licensing Street is operating as two distinct business models: licensing agency and licensing consultant. The company launched in January 2009 during one of the worst economic climates the world has seen. Learn how JJ Ahearn and business partner Jason Korfine crafted a team that is building a business despite these economic challenges.
Nancy Lombardi: What sets Licensing Street apart from other licensing companies? Explain Licensing Street’s current client roster.
JJ Ahearn: On the consulting side, we take a pragmatic approach as we delve into our clients’ challenges. On the agency side, our retail backgrounds [with major consumer products companies] help us to build successful programs for our clients. Our current clients include American Greetings for domestic licensing representing such properties as Care Bears, Holly Hobbie, Mad Balls, etc. We just reached an agreement to represent National Geographic Kids on a global basis. We work with the urban vinyl brand Unkl as well as Ty’s Toy Box.
N.L.: What is Licensing Street’s strategy for growth?
JJ Ahearn: Licensing Street’s first client at launch was Felix the Cat. During the past two years we have worked with everyone from Felix to MTV. We have turned down more clients than we have accepted because we are trying to be strategic with the clients we work with, which will build the company for the long term.
Moving forward, we are very positive about the licensing industry. This year’s trade shows were more upbeat than in years past. We realize that to stand out in this business you have to be a salmon. When everyone is going in and signing the usual suspects you have to swim upstream and do things a little differently.