A few months after formally entering the market, EMEA-focused Boutique Licensing Agency — BLA! — announced its first representation: Mr. Men and Little Miss, the British brand owned by Japanese multinational corporation Sanrio Co., Ltd.
As the brand reaches its 50th anniversary in 2021, BLA! will use its experience in toys, publishing, and entertainment to expand the property into new areas beyond its key regional markets of the UK and France.
BLA! will be focusing on the markets of Iberia, GSA, Benelux, Nordic, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Baltics, Russia and the CIS for all product categories. The company will also manage Latin American markets for publishing rights only.
BLA! is a new agency inspired by a customer-centric approach and new thinking, building on a base of experience and expertise across multiple categories and regions. Heading the founders are BLA! MDs Maria Maranesi and Marie-Noelle Lutte.
Maranesi has more than 20 years of licensing experience in global organizations, including the role of EMEA Regional Leader across the full portfolio of Mattel & HIT brands and, most recently, VP EMEA, National Geographic Partners, where she drove the vision and strategy for the National Geographic licensing program in Europe and Africa.
Previously Lutte drove strategy, market growth, and product innovation in the publishing category for Mattel EMEA. For The Walt Disney Company she also led a strategic partnership with the company’s major global publishing licensee.
The other members of the BLA! team include former senior executives from the toys, publishing, entertainment, and licensing sectors, all of whom bring many decades of experience to this new venture – along with a network of manufacturing, licensing and retail contacts.
“Our aim with BLA! was to combine fresh thinking, recognized expertise and a strong network of contacts with a highly adaptable and personalized service – and we’re thrilled to be able to announce such a well-loved brand as our first representation,” said Maria Maranesi. “We’re looking forward enormously to working with Sanrio during a key year for the Mr. Men and Little Miss brand.”
“We are here to bring solutions that address the needs of all parties: brand owners, licensees, retailers and consumers. Building and nurturing strong relationships as a trusted and values-driven partner reinforces everything we do,” said Marie-Noelle Lutte. “In addition, the real magic happens when we transform our business opportunities into mutual win-wins.”
Silvia Figini, Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Men – Worldwide, commented: “Sanrio is happy to partner with such an innovative and flexible agency. Their attention to cultural diversity and sustainability will definitely be an important asset for our growth in Europe and is consistent with our corporate identity. BLA!’s expertise and strong network of contacts make them a great choice for a dynamic company like Sanrio/Mr. Men and we are sure they will support our business development significantly.”
BLA! offers across-the-board brand licensing representation services – from rights management to contract negotiation and retail activation. It also offers licensing and publishing consulting services. Its focus area covers every corner of EMEA, and beyond.