Pembe the Pink Cat is a new license based on a kawaii aesthetic and the promotion of uniqueness. LM spoke with Sertan Christoffersen, Executive Director, Pembe the Pink Cat, to learn more about this fresh and engaging brand.
How was born Pembe, and what are its key features?
Pembe the Pink Cat is a fairly new brand, established just over a year ago. It is receiving a lot of attention since it is centered on a kawaii cat that promotes individuality. Pembe means pink in Turkish: the character is a chubby pink cat with no gender, which likes cookies. He resides in Copenhagen, Denmark, with little Pembe, a smaller version of himself.
I also live in Denmark and have Turkish origin. I have worked in the toy industry for almost 16 years, designing and developing products for large companies, and collaborating with different brands. When I created this IP, I wanted young people to understand through Pembe’s uniqueness the complex nature of human minds, personalities, neurodiversities and various conditions of life, recognising every experience and self-expression as valid.
Are there other characters in the world of Pembe?
We only created two characters: Pembe and Little Pembe. Pembe is goofier and slower, while Little Pembe is more skilled and fast. They work together to complete various challenges, teaching children about different social situations, and how to interact with mood changes and different personalities.
Pembe and Little Pembe can dress up in various costumes, adopting their personality to the disguise worn, becoming a chef or an astronaut, for example.
How are you now positioned in the market?
Even before I launched Pembe, I wanted to develop a brand that expressed significant principles while also being feasible for licensing and merchandising.
We have an online store with different products, and our key rings are available in numerous physical stores in Copenhagen. We got really good sales, and we now have the ability to increase brand awareness as people visit Instagram and all of our social channels to learn more about who we are.
We handle the manufacturing of our items ourselves, however we are open to future collaboration with licensees. We wanted to retain the attention only on a single character, making him the key idea of the project. As a result, we decided to focus solely on the costumes rather than developing a large number of characters. It is critical to include seasonality and variety in our images to assist licensees in capitalising on various opportunities, therefore there will undoubtedly be a large number of new costumes.
We are currently working on a plush line and plan to launch a big squishy plush as a first product. We are also going into some licensing deals in the USA and Japan, it’s really exciting.
Which industry events are you attending, and what kind of feedback have you received?
We strongly believe in the importance of being present at relevant industry fairs. Participating in Brand Licensing Europe last October was a key experience, which allowed us to make ourselves known. We were constantly busy with meetings, and the overall reaction was positive. We better grasped our licensing options after receiving input from licensees. We have also seen great interest from publishers.
Last November, we attended the Licensing Japan Expo alongside Negosh, an online American platform that represents us. Our biggest audience is in Japan and South Korea, due to the kawaii feature and Asian flair of the character, which we try to integrate with European ideals. We have a large number of adult followers, predominantly female, aged 20 to 35. We are not only targeting the parents of preschool children, but also the other adults, because the simplicity and purity of the characters, as well as the visual appeal, evoke nostalgic memories or provide comfort to this target groups.
Last but not least, you are also working on a new animated series…
We are in talks with Minicosmos ApS, a Danish animation studio that saw enormous potential in Pembe. We are working on a pilot episode to test initial reactions, and possibly find further funding and co-producers.
We are leaving behind the social content style to work on a preschool product with great care for the message and the way the characters interact. For this, we are working step by step on the writing of the stories and the length of the episodes.
The animated series will debut later this year and we are very excited.
Curated by Rossella Arena