Today we profile the upcoming talent in the licensee world with our run down of Rising Star: Licensee finalists.

LICENSING.BIZ PEOPLE AWARDS: Rising Star – Licensee continues its round-up of the teams and individuals in the running for a coveted People Award on Thursday April 30th. Today we profile the upcoming talent in the licensee world, the finalists in the Rising Star – Licensee category.

Samantha Clapham – Underground Toys

Samantha Clapham is the senior product development manager at Underground Toys. Having recently been promoted, she specialises in product development, works directly with retailers and sources factories suitable for licensing products.

Clapham has shown great creativity throughout her time at Underground Toys and – as the lead on the development of Underground Toys’ BBC Doctor Who homewares range in the UK and US – has had opportunity to show off her creative flair. Initially starting with sourcing the appropriate factories for the homewares products, Clapham went on to develop over 40 different products in a short space of time. With strong creative vision and determination, she created a varied range suitable for a broad fan base which has seen much success so far.

Some of the Doctor Who products she is most proud of include the TARDIS Spatula, Doctor Who tablecloths, plates and some unique Sonic Screwdriver BBQ Tongs.

Clapham has also played a key role in the development of other licenses such as Marvel plush toys and worked the BBC Sherlock license too.

“She’s a talented under-30s employee who has really made an impact in the Underground Toys business and deserves to be classed as a ‘rising star’,” offered one of her colleagues.

Charlotte Clisby – Merchant On Demand

Charlotte Clisby is head of business development and co-founder of Merchant On Demand, having helped launch the Soho-based business in 2013. She received a glowing reference from one of her clients who nominated her for this award category: “Working with Charlotte was an absolute pleasure. She understood straightway the needs and restrictions that sometimes we have when working with challenging brand owners. Charlotte always came back with a detailed proposed solution, which to my knowledge has served Merchant very well, and has won them quite a few new licences.”

Hannah Lees – Smiffys

Hannah Lees has worked at Smiffy’s for some six years, now boasting the position of brand licensing manager. Her work with licensors across the industry for the fancy dress specialist has led her to being nominated in this Rising Star category.

Richard Belford – Simba

According to one of Simba’s licensing partners, Richard Belford initially kept a low profile within the licensing industry as he focused on his role as UK sales director, responsible for growth in retail sales. However, over the past three years, he has increased his presence and taken the time to actively grow his UK licensing industry network and knowledge base.

Said Nickelodeon of him: “Belford has been a key partner of Nickelodeon and with his enthusiasm and drive, he has exponentially grown the SpongeBob SquarePants toy business within the UK market.

“He displays a ‘can do’ attitude at all times and has the ability to think outside traditional methods and opportunities, meaning that under his steer, the Nickelodeon business with Simba UK has thrived."

Emily Campan – Penguin Books

Campan started out at Smiffys as a graduate trainee in 2010 before joining Penguin in July 2013 as licensed publishing executive. She quickly established a good rapport with key licensees in the UK and abroad, including eOne, Activision, DC Thomson and Mind Candy.

Campan is heavily involved in the acquisitions process, including internal decision making and pitches for new business, and has also begun to take responsibility for identifying opportunities and negotiating deals, including the Peanuts Movie. On top of this she is billed by her colleagues as “a key member of our IP development team” and is involved in the creative and commercial development of Penguin’s preschool TV show Puffin Rock, which launches on Nick Jr. in May 2015.

Emily Aldridge – GB Eye

Emily Aldridge has been with GB eye for five years, starting in the promotional department then moving into licensing just three years ago. Within that time she has made her mark on the industry, working with a variety of licensors and agents on the way, to become integral to the continued success of GB eye.

Her portfolio now includes some of GB Eye’s most important clients, including Nickelodeon, Mattel, Rocket, Sony Playstation, IMG and VW.

Said one of her colleagues: “Clients big and small are all afforded due care and attention and she maintains both a steely professionalism and a chirpy sensibility that is a credit to herself and to GB. And all this whilst being a young mum and running a household.”

The People Awards take place on Thursday April 30th at Sway Bar, London.

Tickets are priced at just £79 and can be purchased by clicking here.

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Jodie Holdway via or Carole Eagles via, or call 01992 535647 to find out more.

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