It’s coming up on two years since I joined the world of brand licensing. Coming from a background rooted in non-profit and political work, the transition into this dynamic industry presented its own set of challenges and opportunities. Thankfully, my experiences in navigating those not-so-fun conversations, negotiating various terms, and advocating passionately for causes have undoubtedly shaped my approach to building relationships in driving collaborations. A majority of my pop-undergraduate career was during the pandemic learning to navigate those “uncertain times”; an overused phrase of the time, but emphasized the importance of adaptability and perseverance.
Barely out of college, I landed a job in campaign management, where constant fundraising, strategic marketing, and the diverse discourse that comes with that arena truly shaped my professional career. The greatest hurdle I had to learn to navigate, was building and maintaining impactful relationships dominated by communication via phone and Zoom calls. I started honing my skills on how to create these impactful relationships, valuing depth over quick transactions, and knowing that not every interaction fits the same mold.
In the fast-paced industry of brand licensing, I’ve encountered a community characterized by interconnectedness, resourcefulness, and a shared commitment to excellence. It’s a world where relationships matter, and where professionals possess a remarkable ability to inspire to drive meaningful change. From my limited time in this industry, it’s evident that the emphasis on transformative relationship-building is infused within the licensing realm regularly fueling this collective desire to create exceptional products and uplift each other toward success.
Having witnessed the effects of transactional relationships and their subsequent (yet not surprising) deterioration, I am incredibly aware of their pitfalls. This awareness guides my approach in negotiations with potential licensees, seeking out future clients, and supporting our current partners. At DBG, our philosophy is as straightforward as it gets: we aspire to be partners we would want to partner with. Our pursuit centers around relationships grounded in trust, communication, and transparency—values that we try to live every day.
As I reflect on the past two years, it’s abundantly clear that transformative relationships not only strengthen our industry but also shape innovation. The collaborative spirit fundamental in these partnerships fuels creativity, drives forward-thinking initiatives, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Moving forward, I am excited to see the positive impact we can continue to foster through transformative relationships, propelling both our partners and ourselves toward sustained success and growth.