“We see a continual demand for ‘retro’ licences”; Smiffys’ Sharon Poulter

Licensed costumes have been an important part of the party industry for many years now, but fashions and trends change as quickly here as they do on the high street. Smiffys’ senior trade marketing manager Sharon Poulter tells us more.

How important is licensing to the party trade in general?

“With World Book Day a firm fixture in the school calendar, children’s licensed dress-up is fundamental to the year-on-year success of World Book Day for the party industry. As a result, licences are an increasingly important part of Smiffys offering. Many of our popular dress-up characters were born from established book titles, such as Roald Dahl, Where’s Wally, Goosebumps and Horrible Histories right through to the most recent successes of 2018, including characters from the World of Walliams, Beatrix Potter and Enid Blyton.”

How important is licensing to Smiffys’ everyday dress-up business?

“Licensed costumes also play an important role in underpinning the success of the adult costume category at Smiffys. Carnivals, festivals and group events drive sales for a wide selection of classic licences including Where’s Wally and He-Man that have no expiry date.”

Which characters/brands work particularly well for you within the party sector and why?

“Enduringly popular, Roald Dahl’s infamous characters enjoy best-selling status on World Book Day but remain in demand throughout the year. Roald Dahl Day, an annual event in September, is promoted as a ‘Dahlicious Dress Up Day’ and also brings characters to life through dress-up, while raising money for his children’s charity. In addition, historical character costumes and accessories are some of the best-selling products within our portfolio.”

Which new licences have been selling well recently and which do you expect to perform well in the future?

“We see a continual demand for ‘retro’ licences such as Grease, Top Gun and Baywatch to name a few. Smiffys also offer a wide range of classic ‘horror’ licensed characters for Halloween, including Chucky, Saw, Breaking Bad, and Michael Myers, among many others.”

Have you got anything exciting lined up for 2019?

“Yes! We recently announced new licensed ranges; CBeebies’ favourite Bing, Postman Pat and TV classic Wind in the Willows, to our new range of toddler costumes, all aimed at the preschool market. Our new range of preschool  generic and officially licensed dress-up also includes characters from popular children’s books and preschool television programmes such as Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, Roald Dahl and Where’s Wally. It brings characters to life, encourages development through imaginative play and is designed to inspire and excite the imagination.”

What will you be focusing on over the next 12 months?

“We are continually developing innovative and exciting lines to make sure we have the best selection available for our customers. Look out for exciting new characters and licences, and re-imagined heroes coming soon!”

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