Groovy UK

When starting out with a new licence, product range, or even when creating one of their own brands, the team at Groovy UK make sure that they know their customer inside out.
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When starting out with a new licence, product range, or even when creating one of their own brands, the team at Groovy UK make sure that they know their customer inside out.

By looking at what has and hasn’t worked in the past, researching emerging trends and spending time conducting market research, the team comes up with various personas of people they believe would buy into the brand.

Each ‘customer’ has an in-depth profile including what they do for a living, the music they listen to, their friends, who their friends are, their favourite TV shows, whether they are Facebook or MySpace users and even what their shopping habits are likely to be. For example, do they browse the High Street, then buy online?

MD Martin Butler explains: “All this information is so vital to Groovy’s success and helps build data that can then encourage buying decisions from retailers.”

2008’s key line was the Hero Robe. Until Groovy decided to target a new audience, licensed bath robes had been targeted mainly at children. Butler comments: “Groovy realised that most men don’t grow up and have an inner desire to embrace their hero fantasy.”

The company subsequently bought the Rocky licence from MGM through Rocket Licensing and launched a Rocky Bathrobe. The firm’s audience research seems to have been particularly insightful this time, as the robe has become one of the best selling items over the autumn/winter 2008 period. Groovy already has plans to expand the category in 2009 with Marvel and DC Comics on the back of the success.

For this year, there are plenty more high profile licences in the pipeline. Perhaps the most exciting of these is the global licence for James Bond glassware (see box out). Also new for this year is Ed Hardy (ceramics), Hello Kitty (gifts), Marvel (bathrobes, cufflinks and gifts) and Love Hearts (gifts), which will all be showcased at Spring Fair.

Despite a wide range of licences hitting a number of audiences, Groovy is being realistic about growth over the next 12 months. Butler explains: “2009 will be a challenging year for retail and Groovy are not looking at further expansion but more focus on service, customer benefits, creative marketing, innovative products and e-commerce solutions.”

However similar licences taken on since the firm’s conception in the early 90s have proved lucrative and taken the business from strength to strength.

Monique Scott founded Groovy UK as a retail outlet and after meeting Butler and bringing him on board, they began trading B2B as a wholesale distributor for impressive names including Coca Cola, Playboy and Betty Boop alongside their own brand of decorative glassware and ceramics.

Growing rapidly, the independent customer base had soon reached 300 as they also started to work at the bigger end of the market, including The Gadget Shop, The Discovery Store and Debenhams. Scott provided the creative flair, while Butler specialised in manufacturing and sourcing, which remains the case today.

The Playboy licence quickly became one of the cornerstones of the business and Groovy also devised its own brand, Rock Hard Fairies. Seeing both sides of the industry helped the firm get to grips with the industry through trading and exhibiting at trade shows.

The next major step was the establishment of Groovy Asia in 2006, which now employs ten staff in the Shen Zhen office. Groovy UK then expanded into its new offices in Leicester in 2007, which now houses a workforce of 27.

Butler says of the team at Groovy UK: “Groovy is an organisation bursting with talented people, Through the creativity of our individuals and the coming together of a truly great team, our aim is to conduct business the Groovy way. We care about people customers, suppliers and the products we create. We have the ability to manifest at speed an idea from concept to consumer.”


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