Lisa is the President of Lisa Shamus and Associates

How long have you been a WIT Member?
I have been a member for 6 years, with the New York Chapter.

What route did you take to get into the licensing industry?
I worked in children’s fashion for a company that held various designer licenses. I was intrigued by the idea and applied to The Walt Disney Company, and started my licensing career in 1991.

Tell us a great story about one of the brands you’ve worked with.
My favorite success story was taking the license for the movie, TED. Who in their right mind would take a license for a line of R-rated plush/toy merchandise? I saw beyond the barriers (which were considerable) and built a line of toys for this incredibly successful movie. We broke with tradition and built this megahit without the tried-and-true toy mass merchants. My proven success with unique and nice properties such as South Park and Marvel Comics enabled us to create a totally unique, and wildly successful toy line for TED.

What are the challenges that face the licensing industry today?
The biggest challenge today is distribution and retail partners. It is also the greatest opportunity. With so many ways to reach consumers, the smartest licensors and licensees will know where their customers are and how to most efficiently reach them.

Tell us about a hurdle you faced and how you got over it.
The biggest hurdle I ever faced was taking a license that was a disaster. One learns that not everything is always a home run. And sometimes, what you think will at least be a single is a total strike out.

What are your top tips for someone wishing to get into the licensing industry?
If you want to be in licensing, you need to be an out-of-the-box thinker. You need to be confident enough to try a different model, find unique partners and believe in what you are buying or selling.

What’s your favorite productivity tip?
Respond to every email once you open it. I call it ONE AND DONE. Don’t touch any email or piece of mail twice. If you don’t have the time to do it now, don’t open it.