BLE NEW EXHIBITOR SPOTLIGHT: American Greetings Corporation

The Strawberry Shortcake owner gets serious about the European market.
Publish date:
Social count:

In 1905 a young Polish man named Jacob Sapirstein arrived in America. He became a jobber of postcards – a popular item at the time – buying stock from German manufacturers to sell to the local merchants of Cleveland, Ohio.

Sapirstein borrowed $50 from the bank to start American Greetings. Now, more than 100 years later, the company generates around $1.7 billion in revenues from its worldwide operation.

“By attending BLE for the first time, we hope to demonstrate that American Greetings Properties is serious about the European market and that we have a lot of fantastic properties that appeal to a wide range of consumers. We’d like to increase the awareness for and the desire to license our brands,” says Gabrielle Oliff, VP brand and marketing at American Greetings.

The company’s top properties are American Greetings (of course), Carlton Cards, Gibson, Recycled Paper Greetings, and Papyrus.

Apart from greetings, AG’s paper product brands include DesignWare for party goods, Plus Mark for gift-wrap and boxed cards and Date Works in calendars.

Oliff says: “Our first licence was for Holly Hobbie way back in 1977. American Greetings received a phone call to place the “little blue girl” on some home goods and the business and licensing department grew from there.”

Holly Hobbie is still going strong today, with Holly Hobbie Classic targeted at women aged 25 and over, and the Holly Hobbie & Friends brand for girls aged four to seven, which Oliff explains is the “great granddaughter of the original Holly Hobbie, bright, happy, and a natural born leader.”

Other character brands include Strawberry Shortake, the WotWots, Twisted Whiskers, Madballs and Care Bears.

Oliff says: “For the WotWots, we are looking to sign on new agents to represent the brand in Europe. Care Bears – with new entertainment and toy line announcements coming soon – is wide open for licensing opportunities and for more established brands such as Strawberry Shortcake and Holly Hobbie we are looking to round out our licensing portfolio.

“BLE is a rapidly expanding show that focuses on one of the key territories for the American Greetings Properties’ business. It is essential that we are there in order to spread the word about our brands and have face to face meetings with current and potential partners.”


Featured Jobs

Aardman Job Logo 620 x 349

Brand Manager (Maternity Cover)

Part of the brand team, The Brand Manager works closely with several members of the department, including Studio Publicist, Community Managers, Licensing, Sales and Attractions and Live Experiences teams to implement local and international strategies in the form of brand plans and maximising on all activity surrounding the properties.

Universal Job Logo 620 x 349

Senior Graphic Designer, EMEA - Consumer Products

Working in tandem with the Product Development team and reporting into the Design Manager EMEA, the purpose of this role is to drive forward our creativity across all licensed consumer products. As part of the creative team, you’ll be developing exceptional creative assets and product concepts for numerous NBCUniversal franchises that inspire licensing partners across the entire region.

SanrioJob Logo 620 x 349

Creative Manager

Best known for global icon Hello Kitty, Sanrio has a portfolio of more than 400 characters. We license a unique collection of branded gifts, stationery and fashion accessory items while collaborating with the most respected companies in the world. Our EMEA business coordinates the development licensing throughout Europe, Russia, Middle East, Africa, Asia (for Mr Men), Australia and New Zealand. An exciting, permanent opportunity has come up at our London office to lead our Design team as Creative Manager (m/f)

Vivid Job Logo 620 x 349

Digital Marketing Executive - Toys & Games

Vivid is Britain’s biggest toy company and the 20 largest in the world. With offices across the globe, they sell an amazing portfolio of toys and games to over 60 countries. Vivid is best known for its association with blockbuster brands and is very excited about future opportunities around the world.