Beginning June 5, Hollie Holmes, an accomplished and highly respected industry veteran, joined Moose Toys as Vice President Global Licensing. LM interviewed her to explore the company’s future projects.
Could you tell us about your background in the licensing industry and how you came to join the Moose Toys team?
I’ve been in the licensing industry for more than 20 years! My first introduction to licensed products was when I worked for a cosmetic bag manufacturer who did the soft makeup bags for Caboodles®. Working on the brand gave me the foundational knowledge and got me hooked on licensing! I went on to have stints at Whatshotnow.com, a B2B start-up, and as a licensing agent for Brand Sense Partners before I headed to Mattel to oversee the licensing acquisitions for their “wheels” portfolio, including Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco RC. I spent the next 15 years in licensing acquisitions at Mattel for brands that included Barbie, Fisher-Price and UNO. Additionally, I worked with entertainment partners — such as Universal, Disney and Paramount. From Mattel, I went from big to small, working for PlayMonster, a small toy company in Beloit, Wisconsin that supports the Hasbro licenses for Spirograph and Koosh.
Coming to Moose all started at Kidscreen, where a conversation led to reconnecting with my old friend, Ronnie Frankowski, the chief commercial officer of Moose Toys. For me, the timing was right. I had gotten the PlayMonster licensed portfolio in shape and I was interested in getting back into a larger company that was incredibly hungry for licenses and innovation. Moose Toys is that company and it has been a perfect fit for me as I can utilize the foundation of my experience from working at a large company, as well as the quick-turn opportunities I championed while working for a smaller, more agile company. This has given me a hybrid foundation that is serving me well at Moose as we continue to explore and identify new and exciting licensing opportunities.
What are Moose Toys’ current top Ips?
Moose Toys is truly a house of innovation. Magic Mixies has been a breakout hit and global sales phenomenon for Moose with back-to-back Creative Toy of Year wins for Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron and Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball, and we’ve just launched another Creative Toy of the Year nominee with Beast Lab. Akedo is crushing sales in the battling action figure segment at retail and recently signed an agreement with Paramount for its sought-after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property.
The tremendously popular Little Live Pets, plush toys that move, act and sound like the real thing, continue to delight and amaze kids, now with Little Live Pets My Puppy’s Home and a mini version of last year’s sell-out hit Mama Surprise. Moose also is the co-creator of Heroes of Goo Jit Zu, the squishiest and stretchiest action figure ever with every Hero filled with a different goo filling and mesmerizing texture. In addition to the brand’s original characters, it has expanded to include licensed characters from Marvel and DC. And speaking of licensing, Moose is the global master toy partner for the BBC preschool juggernaut, Bluey, with an impressive range of toys including plush and interactive plush, playsets, vehicles and so much more and with more fun to come.
What are your primary licensing strategies for the coming year?
Our goal for 2024 is to lean into top tier licenses to grow the foundation of our franchise brands, partner with Universal to support the Trolls 3 and Despicable Me 4 theatrical releases, and continue to extend the Bluey range with BBC. These partnerships give kids more ways to play out the show to shelf content loved by kids and adults.
Currently, I am working with the teams to review co-branded and master toy licensing opportunites for 2025 and beyond. I am also sourcing new IPs that kids are leaning into. It is all super exciting for the continued growth of Moose Toys’ licensing program!
What new products and projects will you be introducing at the New York Toy Fair?
From a licensing perspective, we’ll be showcasing a great new Bluey item for fall 2023: the two foot tall Bluey Hammerbarn Shopping Playset, based on the home improvement store featured in the popular “Hammerbarn” episode of show. We’ll also have our Trolls Band Together Mineez, a line of more than 100 1 ½ inch scale collectible Trolls with a huge variety of different finishes and hair (including classic Trolls hair!). We’ll also have our additional key holiday drivers like Beast Lab, Magic Mixies Pixlings and much more.
The complete interview is available in the new issue of Licensing Magazine, pag. 104 – 105.