The independent agency, Sagoo, has secured a new partnership with Blueprints Collections to develop a new range of stationery, accessories, bags and gifts inspired by its hit Japanese character brand, Rilakkuma.
The range is scheduled to be landing at retail imminently and will comprise a selection of stationery, including notebooks, pads, pencils, pens, pencil cases, highlighters, stickers and a stationery set, as well as bags, accessories and gifts, including water bottles, travel mugs, plush purses, bags and backpacks.
All will be illustrated with pictures of the relaxed bear, often in one of its well-known reclining poses. Some will even make use of the famous zipper that appears on the bear’s back.
The agreement with Blueprint was signed in late 2018. Product will reach retail in spring 2020. It will be available at gift shops, department stores, specialist independents and high street retailers in a number of key European markets including the UK, Eire, France, Spain, Portugal, Benelux, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Rilakkuma’s name – a combination of the word ‘relax’ and the Japanese word for ‘bear’ – sums up this cool character. Rilakkuma loves music, watching TV, hot baths, food and being lazy. The character’s relaxed approach to life has made Rilakkuma and its friends, such as Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori, stand out among kawaii brands.
Today Rilakkuma is one of the most popular characters in Japan. Its core market in Japan is women from 20 to 40 years old. In Europe, there will be a wide target market, including parents with young children, eight to 14-year-old girls, and all fans of Japanese culture.
Supported by a comprehensive style guide, Sagoo now aims to emulate this success with Rilakkuma in Europe, where plush (from Cijep Plush), a blackboard book and activity boxes (from Larousse) and a baby album (from Editions First) are now available in a number of markets.
Lisa Shand, managing director, Blueprint Collections, said: “The continuing growth of Rilakkuma in European markets comes as no surprise. This is a charming, funny and unique kawaii character with enormous market potential. We are thrilled to be working with Rilakkuma on this collection.”
Veronique Pichon, president, Sagoo, added: “Awareness of Rilakkuma is building fast across European licensees and consumers. This is an ideal time to highlight the character and its enormous potential at retail – and Blueprint is an ideal partner to bring Rilakkuma to the key stationery, accessories, bags and gift category.”