NJ ScreenPrints is a DTR supplier of garments and the firm has just launched its own licensing division. Licensing.biz talks to Licensing executive Dan Wilkins.

THE BIG INTERVIEW: Dan Wilkins, Licensing, NJ ScreenPrints

Tell us a bit about NJ ScreenPrints, why did you decide to set up a licensing division? I believe this is the first time a garment manufacturer has done this.

NJ ScreenPrints Ltd is quite unlike anything else in the market place. We are a direct to retail supplier of garment and print. And we have just introduced a new licensing arm to offer new levels of service and values to not only retailers but also brand owners and licensors alike.

For retailers with existing DTR agreements, we can offer a variety of different manufacturing and trading models, allowing them to manage micro trends as well as day-to-day evergreens.

For licensors or brand owners, we offer end-to-end fulfillment for promotional product and an extensive free of charge sampling service.

We also want to purchase licenses across adult and kids’ categories and supply to retail.

The advent of ‘online everything’ has very much changed the landscape of consumer accessibility to goods and services. NJ has always had the potential to change the way product could be delivered to market.

The introduction of a licensing division delivers this long awaited change to an environment that needs perpetual customization, efficiency, speed, reliability and sustainability.

So, why does NJ ScreenPrints have the advantage in the field?

To name one of our highlights is the recent process investment in Dye Sublimation Printing that we can use as a background garment print foundation and then, for example, a flock quality placement print on top. Adding a welded sound chip gives the garment more interaction with the consumer, all producing a three dimensional garment appearance.

It may sound a bit technical but the end product is stunning and quite unlike anything else currently on offer in the market place.

You have something of a Big Corporate background, but this firm seems to be much smaller and lighter on its feet – would you agree? What benefits does this bring both to the firm itself and the people it serves?

Traditionally, business success was all about scale, power and influence. But in the new economy, small is the new big. It’s about being agile and responsive.

It’s now possible to build scale and influence by producing great product in an ethical way and building a tribe of people who love what we do and how we do it.

We live in a world where personal choice and customization is the new norm and we recognise a ‘no one-size fits all’. We have important and flexible models so being smaller we can offer more personal services and customization to move forward.

What experience do you bring that will help the new venture develop?

The thing I would like to highlight is the people side of the business. You have to build a loyal, engaged and motivated team who do great work because they want to.

This comes from treating people well and creating the right working environment. I didn’t learn this at business school, but I have always succeeded by being passionate about my work and wanting to surround myself with people who feel the same way. We are very serious about our service.

Do you see this business model becoming more the norm for garment manufacturers in the future?

That’s an interesting question, I don’t have that as an overriding goal but I do think the tide could turn in that direction. We are innovating within our market place. It feels natural to us as it reflects our skill set and experience and shares our retailers’ vision of a flexible supply chain and demand for what our next step now is.

What we need to focus on now, is making this new model work as well as it possibly can and develop rock-solid relationships that will make the model sustainable.

How many people are involved?

We employ 205 people, and they are singularly our biggest asset. We have a cross organisational function that has built outwardly parts of our company to support and manage our licensing division, a design toolkit team, royalty reporting department, product approval cycle, human resources, sales, marketing and production/account management.

NJ ScreenPrints Ltd is a privately owned, British business established in 1983 and the team is a significant part of the operation’s success to date.

Are you looking to expand the team?

Yes, we are. As the whole business is growing, we are currently recruiting numerous roles to support that growth. Specifically we are looking for a production controller and an account manager. We also have opportunities in sales. So, if you know anyone?

Can you talk me through any licensors or licensees you already deal with?

We hope to make specific announcements in the near future.

What’s the big plan for NJ ScreenPrints, what would you like to achieve by the end of 2014, and then within five years’ time?

There is a bigger picture for sure, but we recognise that we’ll achieve our long term goals by getting it right.

We are absolutely determined that scale will not compromise either our quality or the building blocks which make this new offering effective.

It’s vital we don’t take our eye off the ball. So, by the end of 2014, we aim to be successful in managing new relations with licensors and retail. In addition to this, we also have a plan to expand the model in to mainland Europe.

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