People Awards 2017: Alison Downie on HTI's continued growth with licensors

Evergreen brands are the bread and butter for toy firm HTI, with Peppa Pig, PAW Patrol and JCB all continuing to perform well. Alison Downie, global licensing and brand director at HTI, reveals how HTI ensures it is the ‘go-to company’ for its customers and why strong relationships with licensors have been a strategic priority.
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Congratulations on receiving the award! What are your thoughts on winning?

We’re delighted, it’s a true honour to have won the award for Licensee Team of the Year. I am so privileged to be working with such a wonderful team that have worked so hard over the last year, to get us into the great place we are today.

What has 2017 been like for HTI so far? 

2017 has been a very exciting year for us with lots of investment going on in the background to ensure we are the go-to company for our five key categories. We are a proud northern company with a simple aim, to deliver. With a clear focus to delivering on brands, our relationships with licensors have been a strategic priority for us over the past year.

Are there any achievements for the company you’d like to share?

We are lucky to be working with so many amazing licensors on some of the hottest brands in the industry. Some of our relationships span across considerable time, which is something we are particularly proud to shout about. We are delighted that the strength of our performance on our current properties has given licensors the confidence and trust to continue working with us as new opportunities arise throughout categories and new properties.

What are your thoughts on awards such as the People Awards? Do you feel it is important to shine the light on people in the industry? 

Awards such as the People Awards are fantastic for the industry in terms of recognition and acknowledgement – even being shortlisted gives credit. To win an award shines a well-deserved spotlight of praise. Recognition is a great motivator; awards are a great way to fuel us all to strive to be even better.

We are delighted that the strength of our performance on our current properties has given licensors the confidence and trust to continue working with us.

What has been your most popular license to date? 

Evergreen brands always stand out as key drivers in our business and we are seeing continued strong success with brands such as Peppa Pig, PAW Patrol and JCB. New highlights for us this year are coming from My Little Pony, due to the much-anticipated movie and the increased level of activity and Baby Annabell with the complete new look and stylised range of prams and pushchairs.

As a licensee, what is it you look for in a brand when incorporating it into your portfolio? 

We want to give a brand the justice it deserves, and therefore look at various elements as part of our decision-making process. This starts with avoiding duplication in our portfolio, examining its fit into our key categories and ensuring it translates into compelling products. As a business, we do not want to under deliver to a licensor and always want to be as honest about what we can achieve.

What does 2017 hold for HTI in the licensing space?

I can’t say too much at this point as the ink is still not dry on some exciting new deals. We are happy to be sticking with properties that have obvious longevity and giving our relationships with licensors a real emphasis. 


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