Il Victoria&Albert Museum vincitore di tre Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards: intervista ad Alice Molyneaux

Durante la cerimonia di premiazione, svoltasi lo scorso 26 aprile a Londra presso l’hotel The Dorchester, il programma di licensing del Victoria&Albert Museum ha ottenuto tre Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards.

V&A museum garden

I premi sono relativi alle categorie Fashion Accessories or Lifestyle, Homewares e Licensed Heritage or Institution Brand.

Licensing Italia, presente alla premiazione, ha approfittato dell’occasione per intervistare in esclusiva Alice Molyneaux, Senior Brand Licensing Manager Commercial and Digital Development Department del Victoria&Albert Museum.

Il programma di licensing del famoso museo londinese ha avuto sviluppo a partire dalla metà degli anni ’90 e, ad oggi, può vantare più di 80 licenziatari appartenenti alle più diverse categorie merceologiche: dalla biancheria per la casa, alle stoviglie, alla cartoleria, alla moda, alla gioielleria, ai tappeti fatti a mano, ai tessuti per l’arredamento, fino persino a una collezione speciale di 40 colori per pareti d’interni. Grazie al suo particolare approccio pionieristico, il V&A Museum è approdato oggi anche alla tecnologia, grazie ad un importante accordo con Samsung, per offrire opere d’arte su licenza sulla piattaforma di Samsung, Art Store. I mercati principali per il brand sono l’Europa, gli Stati Uniti e l’Asia orientale, con una particolare attenzione al Giappone e alla Cina. 

Di seguito l’intervista originale.

L.I. When did you start to develop the licensing program of Victoria and Albert Museum?

A.M. The Victoria and Albert Museum first licensed their brand in Japan in the mid-1990s following a William Morris exhibition featuring objects from the Museum’s archives. This included original textile and wallpaper designs by Morris, which proved to be incredibly popular. This triggered the demand for merchandise featuring the work of the famous designer, which led to the launch of the licensing program. The first agreement was signed over 20 years ago and today the V&A has over 80 licensed partners globally.

L.I. What are your lines guides for developing your licensing strategy?

A.M. The experienced team at the V&A provides a tailor-made trend and archive research service and it supports licensees through the design process.  The aim is to create beautiful high quality ranges for the contemporary market, authenticated by the compelling stories from the museum’s rich archives and ensuring we are offering consumers something unique and desirable. We put many resources into developing products collaboratively with our licensees, and we look to build long-term relationships. Some of our long-standing licensees have been on board with us for more than 20 years.

Exhibiting at tradeshows is a key part of our strategy to build awareness and reach out to new licensing partners across the globe. This year, the V&A has a strong presence at trade shows Licensing Expo Japan in Tokyo, Surtex 2018 in New York, and Brand Licensing Europe in London. Additionally, we will be showing our home interior lines at Decorex International in September as part of London Design Festival.

L.I. What are the main product categories you are working with?

A.M. From bedding, tableware and wall art, to personalized stationery, sustainable fashion, and fine jewellery, we are able to diversify across categories and drive innovative product ideas in the market place. For example, our recent collaboration with tech giant Samsung illustrates this pioneering approach, offering V&A licensed artwork on The Samsung Art Store platform for owners of The Frame TV to enjoy at home.

The home interiors arena is a core area of business for the V&A Brand Licensing program and latest launches in Europe include hand crafted rugs, furnishing fabrics, and even a paint collection of 40 distinctive colours inspired by the Museum’s architecture and decorative interiors.

L.I. In addition to UK, who are the main markets for the licensing activities of your brand? What about your presence in the Italian market?

A.M. The V&A continues to drive activity in the international market with a long-established programme operating across Europe, USA and East Asia, maximising the global appeal of the brand.

Japan continues to be a key market for the Museum, many of its blockbuster touring exhibitions travel there, including David Bowie is in 2017. The Licensing team recently appointed sales agents ZenWorks and Brandog, to build on these existing activities and to explore broader licensing opportunities.

The team are also committed to growing the business further in East Asia, as signalled with the appointment of Alfilo Brands as the V&A’s exclusive agent in China.  We have ambitious plans for licensing, retail collaborations and pop-up stores throughout the territory. 

Additionally, there is a buzz of activity in the U.S., with a new quilting collection with world specialists Moda Fabrics, new paper tableware products with Caspari, and long-standing British licensee Wild & Wolf have also recently expanded their gift offering for the U.S. market.

L.I. Did you expect to win the licensing awards in two main product categories such as Accessories and Lifestyle Products and Homewares products?

A.M. The whole team is delighted to have been recognised for its licensing achievements at the B&LLA Awards. We’ve had an incredible year in terms of launches and our success is a true credit to working with great partners. Our attention to detail ensures the creation and promotion of all our products upholds the exacting standards and values of the brand and the strong relationships we have built over many years, decades in some cases, with our licensees gives us the reassurance that we continue on the right track. It is a tremendous effort and it is continually rewarding to maintain this ongoing success in licensing and receiving these prestigious industry awards really is the icing on the cake!

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