Born from the desire to create a fashion inspired brand two and a half years ago, Brand Champions has grown to now operate as a brand owner, product developer and licensor for its two properties, Brit Chicks and Some Girls.
Brit Chicks can best be described as a lifestyle brand targeting girls between the ages of nine and 14. Design based, the property features a group of girls from multi-cultural backgrounds, representing today’s society. It concentrates on themes such as music, mobiles, fashion and friends – elements the target audience are interested in.
Similarly, the Some Girls property is also design based, taking inspiration from illustrations by artist, Robyn Neild. However, the brand targets young women over 14, placing a strong emphasis on fashion. Strap lines are incorporated into the designs to try and make them more appealing or aspiring.
Denise Deane, managing director, recalls the properties’ beginnings: “I wanted to create a fashion inspired brand that would appeal directly to girls aged between seven and 12 years. The style of illustration was critical to its success as was the story that surrounded the characters. From this Brit Chicks was created.
“I also felt that older girls who were not yet adults were not well catered for and wanted to create something that would appeal directly to them. Robyn Neild’s illustrations provided me with the perfect base to go on and create Some Girls.”
The small team of six that is Brand Champions run the UK licensing programmes for the properties while also working on the design and manufacture of products; bags and stationery items in particular. Deane says there is currently more than 200 items in the Brit Chicks range selling throughout Southern Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
“This has enabled us to bring product to retail much faster and has given us some important sales data to date,” she adds.
On top of this, the company also operates as the UK agent for the Secret Wings brand and as a creative design studio, handling the brand development, character creation, product and packaging design for other licensors. As long as they don’t directly compete with their own brands, Deane says.
“It allows us to work on properties and designs outside our own remit which I think keeps us innovative and fresh. It also allows us to bring our own expertise to the table, particularly in terms of manufacturing ability, which we find often works in our favour when tendering for business.”
The company has been enlisted by the ELC for surface and product design, and is currently working on the licensing style guide for Superleague Formula, a new global championship, which connects football with motor racing.
“I believe that the [current] market is challenging but interesting. I think that retailers are beginning to understand the value that a licensed brand can bring to their shelves. Having said that, our target audience have never had so much choice so they are looking for innovative product as well as great design."
With this in mind, and licensing deals with MV Sports, Tactic Games and Carphone Warehouse, the firm is concentrating on the production of the Brit Chicks TV series and developing its licensing programmes.
“The future for the Brit Chicks licensing programme is very exciting and is linked directly to the animated series of 52x11-minute episodes. We are expecting some key licensing partners to come on board later in the year, both in the UK and internationally."
So what does the next five years hold for Brand Champions?
“I see us as owners of one of the industry’s leading brands for girls aged seven to 12 years. Hopefully we will be making a second TV series and will have had a chart hit with the CD we intend to release.”