DRi (Design Rights International) Licensing made its debut into the world of licensing 20 years ago with the hugely popular Forever Friends brand by Andrew Brownsword.
Over the past two decades, the firm has established itself as a leading independent agency representing major character brands and corporate trademarks.
DRi offers a full licensing service and specialises in publishing, fashion, greetings and design based properties across their major brands.
Alicia Davenport, licensing manager, explains: “We are lucky to have several strong and classic cornerstone brands including Miffy, the World of Roald Dahl, Bubblegum and Bobbypin, each delivering growing revenue across a wide variety of product categories.”
Miffy has a 53-year pedigree and the brand has sold over 80 million books. DRi has represented the brand in the UK for 13 years, over which period, the licensing programme has grown and now has over 40 licensees.
Davenport comments: “It’s an extraordinary and very elastic brand that really appeals to multiple ages.”
The World of Roald Dahl has been a client for five years. The publishing brand combines Roald Dahl’s words with Quentin Blake’s illustrations and works well throughout the gift sector.
The Roald Dahl brand has also been translated into movies and even an attraction at Alton Towers. This year saw DRi move the property into the food market with a range of 13 cakes in Tesco.
DRi manages Jeffrey Fulvimari’s Bobbypin internationally and reports a growing interest from its European agents. Davenport says: “Jeffery is a huge talent and the brand combines his distinctive illustrated girls with stunning all over print patterns and quirky language.”
Boots has been a partner on Fulvimari’s brand for five years and Bobbypin has become a key cosmetics and toiletries brand for them.
Each of these brands along with the remainder of the firm’s portfolio has helped DRi to weather the credit crunch storm over the last year.
Davenport explains: “It has been a difficult year for everyone in licensing but we are very lucky to have these classic brands. Tradition always sells and when times are hard, people do tend to turn back to tried and tested brands.”
In 2008, DRi acquired gift company, Rainbow Designs, which has become a major partner for four of the brands – Miffy, Bobbypin, Roald Dahl and Guess How Much I Love You.
This strategic move places DRi in the position of being able to offer certain property owners a unique and powerful combination of licensing representation and co-ordinated gift development. Davenport explains: “Moving into our third year, this investment is really paying dividends with Rainbow securing significant retail prominence for these brands.”
So despite the macro-climate, the firm seems in a strong position to begin 2009. A number of new brands are expected to do well next year, including the latest client, Caroline Gardner. Gardner’s extensive portfolio of distinctive prints and characters lend themselves particularly well to stationery, home and gift areas.
Pink Cookie is also a recent addition. Davenport enthuses that the brand is: “A very on-trend fashion brand targeting women in their teens and twenties. The brand combines the hottest upcoming fashion trends and makes high fashion accessible on the High Street.”
In conjunction with Rainbow Designs, the company will also be launching its own brand next year, The Softest Spot. Gemma International is already signed up as strategic greetings card licensee for, Davenport says: “What looks set to be the next best thing in cute.”