People Profile: David Temkin, CP Licensing Consultant and Former Founder of Sola Look Cosmetics
The global licensing community is powered by an incredible group of professionals whose diverse backgrounds and creative energy drive innovation and excellence. Each week we’re profiling one of these professionals in this ongoing series.
How did you get into licensing (or how did licensing find you)?
I initially secured master licenses from WEA and Sony to reissue albums for a company I was working for in 2008. Everything came full circle in 2016 when I cold-called Paramount and secured a license for Flashdance for my beauty company, Sola Look Cosmetics. Things snowballed from there and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible companies, brand owners, and people. I love how the licensing process works.
What’s a “typical” day in your current position?
Currently, I’m consulting for a few companies. One of the companies is a planner and stationery brand, and we’re on the verge of some major deals. It also helps that they have a great team and are so easy to work with—key in consulting. I think it’s safe to say there’s no typical day in the licensing industry.
What’s your biggest personal or professional accomplishment?
My personal accomplishment would be raising a daughter who makes me super proud. My professional accomplishment is being one of the first indie beauty brands to release licensed collabs with legacy properties. I love that it’s become the norm nowadays and I smile knowing that we were a trendsetter.
What are the most significant trends or changes that you’ve seen in the business in recent years?
That no collaboration is too crazy to do. Nothing wrong with experimentation, but I prefer there being some sort of brand synergy. Don’t do something just to do it.
What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest challenge these days?
Thinking of products that will create an emotional attachment with consumers, and ways to do so. I think that’s what licensing is all about. I also ponder the future and ways to be prepared for the unexpected. Unfortunately, something like COVID could happen again and we as an industry have to be ready.
In your opinion, what is the top skill every licensing executive should have in order to succeed?
Being a people person. The industry is all about relationships and networking. Word of a poor attitude travels fast. Luckily, I haven’t come across many people like that. I have met many talented, selfless, and innovative people in licensing that I’m proud to call friends and colleagues. I’ve learned so much from them.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, or what’s your favorite quote?
The best piece of advice I’ve received business-wise is to try and keep an even keel when doing business. Don’t get too excited when things are going great and don’t get too down when things are going bad.
As for my favorite quote, it’s “Time kills all deals,” courtesy of Ross Misher from Brand Central.
What is your favorite licensing deal of all time? (It doesn’t have to be one that was signed by you.)
Sorry, I can’t choose just one. Crocs always impresses me with their collabs. Some of my favorites have been Lucky Charms, Sweethearts, and 7-Eleven. In the beauty space, I was blown away by Glamlite Cosmetics’ collab with Chucky (Child’s Play). Finally, Peanuts x NASA. Snoopy going into space is pretty impressive.
On a personal note, the favorite licensing deal I signed was with the estate of Aaliyah. It was a complex deal where I had to get a license for Aaliyah, a master license for one of her songs, a mechanical license for the publishing, and a license for artwork we wanted to use. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to release it because we closed up shop, but I know her fans would have loved the concept and that was most important to me. I will never sacrifice the integrity of an IP.
If you weren’t in licensing, what would you be doing now?
I’d be a sports journalist. I love writing and I’m a sports fanatic.
The last licensed product I bought was…
Dymatize protein powder x Cocoa Pebbles.
Pictured: Temkin and his daughter Athena