Joan is the Founder/Principal of The Serenata Group & The ThinkTank Emporium

Joan Packard Luks  WIT Stories

How long have you been a WIT Member?
15 years – New York Chapter

What route did you take to get into the licensing industry?
My route to licensing was purely by accident. Years ago, I accepted a job at Colorforms, the original classic vinyl stick-on activity sets to handle licensing. I honestly did not know what licensing was all about, but I learned quickly thanks to mentoring from Joshua Kislevitz. After years on the licensee side of the business, I took a leap of faith and became an independent licensing agent. I realized my interests gravitated towards children’s properties, and I look for intellectual properties that have the potential to be developed across various media and consumer products.

Tell us a great story about one of the brands you’ve worked with.
The brands I work with are usually start-ups and I work with my clients not just as an agent, but as their licensing coach to introduce them to the world of licensing and teach them Licensing 101. The properties I am currently working with are original and unique. I am very excited to be representing three new properties from the UK: Super Geek Heroes, Arty Mouse, and Tiny Tusks targeting the preschool to kindergarten set; a fabulous social media brand launched in South America, ME! Humanity; NAWI, the dinos for good, teaches kids to be eco-friendly and turn their ‘junk into treasures’, and Purple and Nine, a tween brand focusing on STEM. Each is refreshingly original, and this makes it exciting for me to present to potential licensing partners.

What are the challenges that face the licensing industry today?
The licensing industry is a competitive one. Both licensees and retailers want the properties with strong brand awareness to ensure sell-through. Thus, there are brands today with which my kids grew up. I sometimes wonder, though, where is the vision and imagination for companies to work with a new property and help to nurture it.

Tell us about a hurdle you faced and how you got over it.
The hurdle I face goes with the challenge of presenting newer brands. How do I get over it? I do not give up. I believe in the properties I represent and persevere. A favorite quote of mine stays with me; “The door of opportunity won’t open unless you do some pushing.” – Anonymous. I keep pushing.

What are your top tips for someone wishing to get into the licensing industry?
Network, network, network. Love what you are doing. Be patient.

What’s your favorite productivity tip?
Every day is a new beginning. Get up and keep going.