Baylis and Harding broke into licensing five years ago and the portfolio is going from strength to strength.
Baylis and Harding’s first licence was Mr Men, which was signed in 2005. The firm has been established for 40 years, so was already well-versed in the health and beauty industry when the team identified that there were very few licensed toiletry ranges in the marketplace.
Having realised this was an area they could bring their expertise to and develop new ranges, they set up the licensing arm of the business and began to sign up key brands.
The firm was formerly known as Midland Cosmetics and was founded in 1970. The business was set up by David and Marcia Slater and is now owned and managed by their children Tania and Adrian who took over the business around ten years ago.
Vickie Johns, business development manager comments: “Mr Men continues to perform fantastically for us, and working closely with the brand owners Chorion, we have consistently developed innovative products, and by using a variety of artwork over the terms of our license - original book artwork and the new TV show artwork, this has enabled us to keep the brand offering fresh and exciting for our customers.
“Thomas the Tank Engine is also a very similar story for us and we again have developed ranges in line with the brand owners and relevant brand activity at the time.”
As well as the children’s brands, Baylis and Harding offers a couple of adult brands including Jelly Belly and The Simpsons. Johns continues: “We will be looking to expand out portfolio with additional brands where we feel relevant – these won’t all necessarily be character brands though – so watch this space during 2011.”
And as a glimpse into the dream brands the team would love to work with, Johns tells Licensing.biz: “From a personal perspective - Mulberry Handbags - the iconic and truly classic brand (and a huge dent in my bank account from time to time). From a toiletries brand, a British fashion designer would be a great partnership for Baylis and Harding.”
The next year will see further development of the firm’s existing licensed portfolio, including some new innovation on products. Johns reveals: “We are also negotiating new retail listings with non-traditional toiletry retailers and this is a very exciting area for us.
“This also includes new online partners and partnership/promotional opportunities - we will of course announce all our exciting news on Licensing.biz as soon as we can. We will also be adding in some additional brands to the portfolio but that is all still a secret at the moment.”
The last year has been successful for the company, explained largely by its company ethos of ‘affordable luxury.’
Johns continues: “We have been proud to offer our innovative and exciting licensed ranges to customers at fantastic prices, thus enabling them to still treat themselves and their families during the financially challenging times.”
Also key to the firm’s success is its inherent understanding of how licensed brands work within the sector.
Johns explains: “Classic brands with strong heritage are always a great offering in the health and beauty category. For our younger customers it's all about having fun in the bath so innovative packaging and design is key - our all new Musical Handwash that play a brand relevant audio clip (i.e. theme tune) are a perfect example of this.
“For our tween and adult customers a key focus for us is gifting and we offer great value gift packs for all occasions including Christmas, Fathers and Mothers Day and even Valentines Day.”
Once the licences are signed and the right products developed, Baylis and Harding works closely with its retail partners on in-store marketing opportunities, ranging from POS, retailer magazine features/competitions to online activities. The firm also participates in cross-promotional marketing opportunities where the brand is represented across a variety of licensed ranges.
Johns concludes: “We also have our own dedicated website where we advertise and sell our brands directly to customers - this is key for us as we can also tailor our marketing campaigns by customer purchase/favourite brands etc.”