Kicking off this new series of articles, one of the first women who came to mind for me was Denise Gomez. Even though our careers barely intersected, our interactions have been memorable. And, of course, she has brought some amazing programs to market across a handful of powerful licensors: National Hockey League, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network.
How did you find your way into licensing?
Given my huge love of entertainment, I was lucky to land an entry-level role in the music industry with Uptown Records right after college. At the time, working for the NFL was my goal, so, when a recruiter reached out from the NHL, I took the call. The role supported both corporate marketing and publishing. That publishing piece was my first foray into licensing. It was in that role that I fully realized the power of fandom and the brand equity in those team logos. I was hooked!
What were your favorite deals and why?
Early on in my career, I worked on a couple of groundbreaking launches at Nickelodeon. The first was the introduction of Nicktronics from Emerson, a line of consumer electronics featuring fully sculpted and branded TVs, DVD players, headphones and more designed with kids in mind. I learned so much managing the category from its infancy and building it into a key revenue driver! Secondly, before bingeing was a thing, we partnered with Hasbro on a series of content discs to support the first kid-friendly personal video player, Video Now. Years later, I was lucky enough to work with Funko as our master toy partner on Rick and Morty. At that time, Funko had just expanded into Mass with an initial collection at Target. They were the right partner at the right time to grow our brand beyond specialty. After all, what continues to be unique about Funko is the depth to which they know and understand their customer. I was fortunate to be a part of their meteoric rise.
What do you love most about licensing?
The relationships you build along the way stand the test of time. And the tangibility and excitement of bringing products to life for the fans, both kids and adults!
What are you working on now?
I’ve got a couple of fun properties I’m bringing to market at Boat Rocker Studios. The first is Dino Ranch, which follows the adventures of the Cassidy family as they tackle life in a fantastical “pre-westoric” setting where dinosaurs still roam. As the young ranchers learn the ropes, they discover the thrill of ranch life while navigating the great outdoors through unpredictable challenges. And secondly I’m excited about Love Monster, a quirky animated pre-school comedy series full of heart, streaming now on HBO Max. There’s a bit more I can’t talk about yet but know there’s more to come!