Ian Downes talks to Licensing.biz about the growing demand for vintage in the licensing space and how Land of Lost Content is bringing retro to a new generation.
Can you tell us about the strength of the Land of Lost Content, what has demand been like from consumers and retailers?
The Land of Lost Content is a unique design resource now available for licensing.
The Land of Lost Content is an independent museum containing Britain’s foremost collection of pop culture ephemera, obscure objects and ordinary things from the pre digital era. Belonging to eccentric artist and compulsive obsessive collector Stella Mitchell and collectors of design history, the Hemingway family, the Land of Lost Content is used as Hemingway Design’s personal design archive.
As well as a physical museum, the Land of Lost Content is an online digital archive that has been developed by Wayne Hemingway and his design firm Hemingway Design. It has been used as a reference and resource by Wayne over recent years in the context of his design projects. It has also been available to students to use in the context of their studies as an online resource. It's use by students has given the Collection a tremendous reach and awareness in the design community.
One of it's strengths is its diversity - the collection ranges from handbills to product packaging through to physical products like games and other source material like shopping bags, labels and brochures. The collection is one that has depth and width with over 500,000 items within it.
For licensees, it is a one stop shop to tap into vintage, retro and pop culture images. It is widely acknowledged that vintage is on trend at the moment. This Collection allows licensees to access the best in class in the category and also to be able to work with one of the UK's most respected designers in Wayne Hemingway.
Who is the biggest audience for the property and how is this reflected in the partnerships you secure for the brand?
It is still relatively early days in licensing terms but we already have two licensees on board - Surface View and My Gifts Trade. Both licensees were attracted by the depth of the collection and the ease of use. The depth of the collection is an attraction as well.
For licensees it is easy to use and provides lots of design options. This is a great asset in retail terms as bespoke collections, unique designs and handwriting can be offered. Retailers seem keen on individual looks these days.
A good example of this in practice is that My Gifts Trade have developed a music themed collection for the British Music Experience in Liverpool. This is a visitor attraction that recently opened. Hemingway Design helped with the look and styling of it referencing the Land of Lost Content in their research; in turn My Gifts Trade was able to access the source material to create a gift collection for them.
We are hopeful that other Museums and visitor attractions will use the Collection to create products for their shops. We are also in talks with brand owners who don't have archives of their own products - the Land of Lost Content can help them rebuild these archives and there is good commercial opportunities for The Land of Lost Content in this domain.
From a consumer perspective the collection covers all aspects of pop culture, social history and design - as such it has broad appeal and will resonate with consumers on a number of levels. We will be focussing on Adults but won't be too prescriptive on age.
The Museum fascinates people and we expect this quality to inspire consumers in product purchasing terms. It is clear there is a consumer appetite for vintage - witness the increasing popularity of vintage fairs, revivals and retro events - The Land of Lost Content brings all of this alive in design and product terms. There is a strong emotional connection to the collection.
What’s next for Land of Lost Content in the licensing space, how is Start Licensing keeping up with current trends?
Working with Wayne Hemingway and Hemingway Design future proofs the brand in terms of trend watching, trend analysis and being on point in design terms. Its day to day work informs the direction of travel for the licensing programme and design styling. As Hemingway Design is so hands on with this project we are able to seek their advice and input on a regular basis. This is a great advantage to us and the programme.
We have some fantastic discussions underway at the moment - one angle for us is to look at what is happening in the retro market and see how we can play a role in this.
Surface View is a good example of this - it offers consumers multiple ways of using the collection for home decor and design, tapping into the trend for consumers to personalise their homes with bespoke design.
The Land of Lost Content gives Surface View a really distinct offer that works well on its site and alongside the other design styles they offer. This is the beauty of the Land of Lost Content - it really is a unique licensing proposition.
Other good examples are the rise in popularity of vinyl records and record players - the Land of Lost Content has a significant supply of music related imagery and material. There is a natural fit for the Collection in this product category. We are also keen to develop apparel collections and partnerships. These could work on a design by design basis in fast fashion or with retailers or designers to create more in depth partnerships. These partnerships could have an editorial context as well to really tell a design story and engage with consumers. We are also hopeful publishers will recognise the potential in the Land of Lost Content - it lends itself well to a range of formats from source books for designers through to postcard books.
It is worth getting in touch with us - we are happy to look at ways that the Land of Lost Content can work for you. We have a number of Look Books we are happy to share with licensees and retailers. Wayne is also happy to talk to licensees. Wayne has a high media profile and from a selling point of view his association with the Land of Lost Content adds a lot of value.
The fact that the Land of Lost Content has been used by students in their research is also a great endorsement; it also means that there is a great awareness of the Land of Lost Content in the design community which reflects well in retail circles.