Firstly, could you tell us a bit of background on Thomas Kinkade?
Born in 1958, Thomas Kinkade was raised in the small town of Placerville, California. Coming from a modest background, Thom emphasizes simple pleasures and inspirational messages through his artwork. Thom married his childhood sweetheart Nanette, in 1982, and two years later they began to publish his art.
When and how did the licensing program for his work start?
Lightpost Publishing was founded in 1989 and was the beginning of the Thomas Kinkade licensing program.
How many licensors are on board now? Who are they and what products do they make?
Thomas Kinkade partners with over 70 domestic and international licensees. These include Bradford Exchange, manufacturers of collectibles such as plates, plaques, ornaments, figurines and table top accessories worldwide. Hallmark supplies greeting products worldwide and in their 3700 Hallmark Gold Crown Stores. Ceaco sells puzzles to mass retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us. Andrews McMeel Universal sells our complete line of calendar products. The online retailer Blinds.com recently launched the Thomas Kinkade Drapery Collection. In addition to these brand name licensees, the Thomas Kinkade Company also partners with family owned businesses such as Cornish Heritage Farms (rubber stamps) and Sugar Street Weavers (woven image wearables).
When choosing a licensee, what kind of criteria do you have in mind?
The Thomas Kinkade family of licensees shares a commitment to high - quality products. It is also crucial for us to work with partners with the desire and ability to maintain the integrity of the Thomas Kinkade art and brand.
What kind of product areas does the Thomas Kinkade brand lend itself to?
Thomas Kinkade is the best selling living artist in the world. The Thomas Kinkade brand lends itself to products in a wide variety of categories - from books and music CD's, to calendars, stationary, gifts, collectibles, home furnishings, crafts, and seasonal products.
In 2007, Thom partnered with a number of organizations to commemorate important milestones in their heritage. Thom commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Graceland®, WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort’s Cinderella Castle, Biltmore House, Yankee Stadium™ and Fenway Park™; all were great honors for this award-winning artist. These landmarks hold a special place in the hearts of fans around the world and have proven as such with sales far exceeding expectations. The sales and popularity of these images will continue to grow with licensed product opportunities extending far beyond the framed art.
Are there still product areas that you are keen to move into? If so, what are they?
We are looking forward to additional commemorative partnerships in the future and our ongoing relationships with Disney, NASCAR® and Major League Baseball™. In addition, we would like to see Thom's brand expanded into key categories such as craft and hobby-particularly the scrapbooking arena, as well as outdoor living-gardening accessories and patio accents, as well as holiday and seasonal products are opportunities for new and expanded product areas.
Likewise, are there areas which you would never consider for licensed product?
We currently do not consider using the imagery on furnishings that could disparage the imagery such as floor rugs or disposable items such as paper towels or paper napkins.
Where are Thomas Kinkade products available in the UK? Do you have licensing agents to look after the program in different territories?
Thomas Kinkade products are available in Thomas Kinkade galleries as well as department, mass market and gift stores in the UK. We partner with one licensing agent for our domestic and international programs.
How involved is Thomas with the creation of any licensed product?
Thom has established stringent guidelines for the approval of licensed product concepts, production samples and final products. Day to day operation of this program is managed by a licensing team and in house sgent.
Where do you see the Thomas Kinkade brand being in five years?
Thomas Kinkade has partnered with a number of organizations to commemorate important milestones in their heritage. We see this as an area of ongoing growth over the next five years. Not only does it introduce new customers to Thomas Kinkade but it also creates excellent co-branded opportunities for licensees.
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