There are certain qualities that a design-led sentiment property needs: beautiful artwork and a captivating story are just two. But it is also a very competitive marketplace and, to succeed, a brand needs to have that extra something special, too.
Santoro believes that Gorjuss has it, and judging by early feedback from licensees and retailers, it could be right.
“Quite honestly, every product that is being launched is exceeding all sales expectations,” says Jo Campbell, general manager at Santoro Licensing. “At the moment we cannot get products to market quickly enough, so it’s a very exciting time for our licensees.”
A number of select partners – including The Crafthouse Press – have been appointed to cover greetings cards, stationery, postcards, gifts, dated products and arts and crafts. Santoro is now looking at the second wave, which is likely to move Gorjuss into character collectables and keepsakes, jewellery, housewares, wall décor, publishing, gift confectionery, media accessories, fashion apparel and beauty products. There will also be further expansion the arts and crafts area.
“Gorjuss seems to be captivating the hearts of retailers, for example a major UK High Street chain will be launching exclusive stationery and gift products for the first time, straight into over 200 stores this autumn,” Campbell adds. The brand is already on sale in a number of independents, gift stores and boutiques, as well as department stores like Fenwicks and Bentalls, multiples and craft specialists. Notably though, retail distribution will rapidly expand from autumn/winter as more product becomes available.
“Gorjuss is totally unique,” Campbell continues. “It is one of the very few ‘original art’ based properties in the industry deriving from the love of art as opposed to being a formulaic creation. Aside from being incredibly beautiful to look at, it has deep themes that communicate emotionally and intellectually to the viewer/consumer, resonating with adults, teens and children as opposed to a narrow target sector.
“Our licensees tell us that they never forget the moment they found Gorjuss; that it stopped them in their tracks, and this is certainly the reaction we have experienced at trade shows. Similarly, we are experiencing this instant attraction at retail, with consumers buying doubles of each product line. This kind of reaction is what makes the brand even more exciting.”
Santoro has now started to appoint distributors and licensees across Europe to help build awareness for Gorjuss outside of the UK. Original canvases, works and limited edition prints are already exhibited globally and, in the past two years have been shown in solo exhibitions across the UK, as well as in Hollywood and Hong Kong. International awareness is also being fuelled by daily viral marketing activity, and a number of products are being shipped directly to consumers in the US, Europe, the Far East and Australasia.
Hopes are certainly high for the future. Says Campbell: “Given the response to the brand so far, we believe that the future looks Gorjuss.”