People Profile: Ted Larkins, Global Head of Licensing, Brainbase, Inc.
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 was bartending in Osaka, Japan in 1989, when a customer on the bar asked me to help secure the rights for James Dean to use on T-shirts. He didn’t speak English, I did. He handed me a phone number to call. That evening I called the number and Marcus Winslow, James Dean’s cousin, answered. I negotiated the T-shirt contract with him, and eventually his agent, CMG Worldwide, and thus my career in licensing began.
What’s a “typical” day in your current position?
After a workout and meditation (most important to have a clear mind before diving into work), I check in with our LA-based team, check emails from the night before, and then begin email and call outreach to current and prospective customers. I’ll have various Zoom call presentations and internal meetings and team strategy sessions. I have two teenagers at home, so there’s being a chef and school principal in the mix as well.
What’s your biggest personal and professional accomplishment?
My biggest personal accomplishment, aside from helping raise two amazing kids, is writing the book, Get To Be Happy: Stories and Secrets to Loving the Sh*t Out of Life. It was a labor of love.
What are the most significant trends or changes that you’ve seen in the business in recent years?
The biggest trend we’re all seeing is a shift to online in a major way. The pandemic accelerated an already strong trend to online buying, but now, even trade shows and meetings are being done remotely. Adapting to this new reality from a licensing view point, and securing strong sales outside of brick & mortar became, in an instant, more necessary than ever.
What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest challenge these days?
I’m lucky that I’m sleeping pretty well these days. Of course, like everyone I’m having the COVID challenges staying responsible and safe, and the political upheaval certainly weighs on me. But I’m lucky to be working with a great company with great people, offering a needed product.
In your opinion, what is the top skill every licensing executive should have in order to succeed?
Patience and great communication with others. Every person you interact with is just like you, trying to be happy and find fulfillment in this life. “How you look at someone is how you treat them. How you treat them is what they become.”
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? OR What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is, I humbly say, my own: “You’re born, and then you die. And in-between, you Get To do this thing called life.”
What is your favorite licensing deal of all time? (doesn’t have to be one that was signed by you)
I love the Teflon windshield wipers deal. I believe EMI signed it on behalf of Dupont. When I saw Teflon applied to windshield wiper blades, it was so smart.
If you weren’t in licensing, what would you be doing now?
I can’t even imagine. Maybe a rock & roll star!
The last licensed product I bought was…
I bought my teenage daughter a vintage Care Bears T-Shirt.