I first met Robin when she was out on her own representing French Bull and the New York Botanical Garden. I really wanted to work with her at the time, but neither was a good fit for the roster back then at either Mighty Fine or Junk Food Clothing. Now that she’s at MoMA, I’ve still yet to do a deal, but I’ve bought plenty of items as a consumer. And, I still hope to come up with something or another, maybe an artist collection of Tasty Peach Meowchi? One never knows…
How did you find your way into licensing?
I fell into licensing totally by accident. I responded to a job listing for a licensing agency account exec position. The agency was a precursor to The Beanstalk Group. Michael Stone was the President and I reported to Debra Joester! I was utterly intrigued during the interview process. I just couldn’t believe that there was a job that allowed you to dream up products and alliances and that you could then go out and make them happen. It was a great fit with my skill set and my interests. I learned so much in that job and it set me up for a great future in the business.
What were your favorite deals and why?
When I worked at Scholastic, we launched a major Halloween program for Goosebumps at Target. It was my first time working closely with Target and they were just amazing. They “went big” and created an incredible signage package and front of store presence for the brand and all the products. It was a fun property and I remember they sent their team members dressed up as ghouls to pick me up at the airport! We put a lot of work into the style guide for Goosebumps and seeing how well it translated at Target Stores all over the country was very gratifying.
I also loved working on the Highights Hidden Pictures iphone app because it was one of the first iphone games and it was one of those projects where you are on the leading edge of a new technology.
One of the first projects I worked on when I joined MoMA was a major license agreement for our retail stores, ecommerce and wholesale business in Japan. We have grown the business from one flagship store and an ecomm site to 8 physical retail locations and kiosks in over 25 stores. The ecomm business has grown significantly in Japan. Our partner Loft Stores is so wonderful and it’s very exciting to see the growth story emerge. I’ve also loved the product licensing projects for Vans, Swatch and some of our other partners here at MoMA. I always want to buy all the products!
What do you love most about licensing?
The licensing business always gives you the opportunity to learn new things. I’ve worked across so many different categories from tech to apparel and accessories, to toys, games, home products, publishing and even licensed MoMA’s retail store concept globally. I’ve had the good fortune to work with best in class partners and to learn from their different processes and areas of expertise.
I’ve also always found work – whether for myself, for big and small organizations and more recently at MoMA, a major cultural institution. No matter what is happening with the economy, the ability to make things happen and generate revenue is always marketable. The skills you develop in licensing are very translatable across different types of organizations.
What are you working on now?
We’ve just launched a retail partnership with Nordstrom, bringing MoMA Design Store shops to 10 Nordstrom locations in the US and Canada with a landing page on nordstrom.com. We’re excited about the opportunity to bring MoMA’s unique mix of curator approved products to so many new customers. This month we are also launching our first licensed shop in shop in Europe at the KaDeWe department store in Berlin. We know there is a big design community in Berlin and we see this as a first step to bring MoMA Design Store to major cities in Europe.