Established in 1984, Gemma International focuses on licensed character product, managing the entire process from start to finish – design, sales, merchandising and distribution – from its Andover office.
Now boasting over 50 employees, Gemma covers greetings cards, gift wrap, party and stationery. It has worked with an extensive range of licences – both children’s and adult – over the years including My Little Pony, the company’s first property, through to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Teletubbies and Pokémon.
Current strong sellers include Disney brands, Spider-man, Thomas and Friends, Transformers, Peppa Pig and Hello Kitty among others. Latest deals include the likes of High School Musical and new Disney teen hit Camp Rock, plus The Muppets in its adult selection, while Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E was a solid seller in the summer.
Next up will be lines supporting the arrival of upcoming Dreamworks film, Madagascar 2 (see separate box out for details).
As well as the growth in its property portfolio, Gemma’s party business is also continuing to flourish, with the firm recently acquiring a new warehouse for the business. It develops both licensed and non-licensed ranges including Little Princess, Star Wars, Clone Wars, Peppa Pig and Doctor Who. In addition, more greetings ranges will be launched in January – including Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, Little Princess, Hello Kitty and Primeval.
The firm’s relationship with retail remains strong, too. Indeed, Gemma has special partnerships with a number where it exclusively supplies their licensed product ranges and/or plans juvenile space for them.
Tim Rudd-Clarke, Gemma’s licensing director, believes that in an industry as fast paced as licensing, it is essential to have a portfolio which consists of classic brands while also reflecting what’s hot and on trend at the moment.
“This is why Gemma’s licensed offering is constantly updated and improved,” he tells Licensing.biz.
The sectors Gemma moves in are not untouched by challenges, however. “When Gemma first started we were the pioneers of licensed greetings and there was a very strong independent business,” Rudd-Clarke continues. “This has now all changed with the decimation of the High Street. Also, licences have been diluted by multi-platform viewing and excess of content. However, Gemma has a great track record of still picking the winners.
“In addition, it can be a complicated process getting product to our customers and on shelf due to the complexities of card brokerage (product goes via a third party). It is our role to make the best of new or evolving distribution opportunities.”
However, Rudd-Clarke is confident of the future for Gemma. When asked where he sees the firm in five years time, he simply said “everywhere”.