Janice Ross WIT Stories

Janice Ross is the Business Development and Head of Global Licensing at American Greetings Entertainment

How long have you been a WIT Member?
I have been a WIT member for over 4 years, with the Southern California Chapter.

What route did you take to get into the licensing industry?
I started my career in the entertainment industry as a development executive and quickly discovered a passion for commercializing great storytelling and content. I pursued my passion further in the promotions, marketing and licensing industry where I was able to successfully utilize my diverse but complimentary business background.

Tell us a great story about one of the brands you’ve worked with.
I’ve been so fortunate to work on Care Bears, not only because it’s a beloved evergreen brand, but I genuinely believe in the brand’s message of sharing and caring. It’s exciting see how today the Care Bears are resonating with adults who grew up with the brand, and making new connections with another generation of kids. I recently experienced this during New York Toy Fair when we took a costumed character through the streets of New York City for a photoshoot to celebrate the brand’s 35th Anniversary. People of all ages couldn’t resist giving our life-size Cheer Bear a hug. It was clear that today, more than ever, the Care Bears’ emotional connection and message of caring has never been stronger!

What are the challenges that face the licensing industry today?
It continues to be a challenge to get licensed product on shelf at retail and then breaking through the clutter. Brand owners need to channel that challenge into an opportunity with innovative consumer offerings from branded pop-up shops and creative collaborations, to unique capsule collections available at less conventional locations such as museums and airports.

Tell us about a hurdle you faced and how you got over it.
We were recently challenged with getting product into a specialty retailer. We worked with a group of our licensees on a product presentation that gave this retailer an exclusive and highly unique capsule collection, which in the end got us the distribution.

What are your top tips for someone wishing to get into the licensing industry?
Learn about the industry through licensing trade publications so you’re knowledgeable about the business. Next, connect with organizations like WIT to find a mentor. It’s so important to build a network of individuals who can help you at every stage of your career.

What’s your favorite productivity tip?
I’m a big fan of Evernote – it allows me track and search my meetings notes for easy follow up.