People Profile: Melissa Moskowitz, Managing Director, Mix Licensing Group
The global licensing community is powered by an incredible group of professionals whose diverse backgrounds and creative energy drive innovation and excellence. This week we’re profiling another of our 2021 Rising Stars in this ongoing series developed in partnership with MyMediaBox.
How did you get into licensing (or how did licensing find YOU😊)?
I must admit I fell into licensing without even understanding what it was. I was working as a Marketing Assistant for The World Poker Tour in 2004 when my boss told me she thought I would be a good fit for the brand new licensing department. I straight up asked, “what’s licensing?”
It was in my new role that I had the pleasure of working alongside the one and only Andrea Green building licensing partnerships across multiple categories including poker chip sets, scratch off lottery tickets, and even a branded cruise experience! I could have never imagined that 16 years later, I’d have my own licensing agency representing some of the best licensees in the industry building licensing partnerships with the most beloved studios in the world.
What’s your biggest personal and professional accomplishment?
After working on every side of this industry, I’d have to say my biggest accomplishment has been taking the leap to start my own agency Mix Licensing Group with my partner, Andi Scher, in October 2019. It’s wild to think we were bumping elbows and pumping hand sanitizer at our first toy fair officially as Mix just weeks before the world shut down. We watched the supply chain nearly come to a halt, ports close, offices close, conferences cancelled, and layoffs happening across so many businesses. It was a scary time to have started a new business to say the least, but as months went by and our clients stopped the bleeding, we quickly snapped into overdrive to start planning for 2022 and beyond.
I feel so fortunate that we work in a forward-facing industry. Somehow despite the pandemic, we’ve even managed to grow and sign on new clients all while I homeschooled three kids for a year.
What are the most significant trends or changes that you’ve seen in the business in recent years?
It’s no surprise that the retail experience has been shifting dramatically over the past few years, not to mention the way people consume content. There was a time when we would be pitched streaming shows, and we would say to our clients, “it looks really cute, but it’s not on linear tv.” Those days are long gone. We now look for opportunities everywhere you can imagine. It’s been a practice of patience, but we are finally starting to see that shift at retail as well. Plus, as e-commerce has become a leading driver of revenue for some of our clients rather than an ancillary distribution channel, there’s so much more of an opportunity to take a chance on new properties even if it doesn’t quite have a home yet at retail.
What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest challenge these days?
Aside from praying that my kids actually go back to school this fall? With so much content coming from every single angle (particularly our pockets), we as agents need to start thinking differently and find new measures to make smart decisions and recommendations about what new trends, influencers, content, etc. will last and make a real impact at retail. Sometimes the newest shiniest thing burns the fastest, but other times it’s worth the risk.
No one has a crystal ball, so we do everything we can to get creative on deals so that everyone wins while our clients stay protected (especially during this time when everyone is risk-averse). However, the cost of having such great clients is that we often end up in bidding wars with other top licensees, and we often just have to hold our breath.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? OR What is your favorite quote?
When I worked at Jerry Leigh, my former boss, Andrew Leigh, used to say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” That was my favorite thing because it’s true – the worst thing someone can say is no. To this day, I repeat this to myself and others often.
What is your favorite licensing deal of all time? (doesn’t have to be one that was signed by you)
I’ve seen and been involved in so many incredible deals during my career in licensing, it feels impossible to name just one. Traveling around Japan and Europe while working with Avril Lavigne on her Abbey Dawn brand when I was at Jerry Leigh definitely makes the highlight reel.
The license I’m personally most excited about to be working on right now is for Schitt’s Creek because it’s one of my all-time favorite shows. I can’t wait to see the products come to fruition. Also as a huge Friends fanatic, I have to say I’m beyond thrilled to see Friends products EVERYWHERE right now, so kudos to WB and all the licensees making that magic happen – Jay Franco and Jerry Leigh included.
The last licensed product I bought was…
Honestly, I have a whole garage full of licensed products, so I rarely buy them myself, but funny enough my mom bought my daughter Jojo Siwa bedsheets for her birthday… which were made by our own client, Jay Franco. The last licensed product I personally bought was my Schitt’s Creek mug from the pop up in LA which of course was awesome!
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