Retail licensing programmes help to generate more revenue for gardens

Increasingly profitable trend being led by Kew and RHS.

RHS licensing: programme generates £800,000 each year and society aiming to raise total brought in closer to £1m - image: HW
RHS licensing: programme generates £800,000 each year and society aiming to raise total brought in closer to £1m - image: HW

Kew and the RHS are leading the way in bringing in licensees to boost income. The RHS licensing programme, led by Cathy Snow, generates £800,000 per annum. Over the next two years the society hopes to increase the royalty generated to closer to £1m.

Actual sales by licensees take the figure "probably close to £20m annual sales of products at trade prices and could top £40m in retail sales", according to the RHS. A recent event at St Ermin's Hotel in London celebrated licensees' contribution to RHS funds and the opening of a new roof garden with bee hives at the hotel, which the RHS linked to its Greening Grey Britain campaign.

RHS gardening licensees now include Burgon & Ball, ChoiceShops irrigation systems and hedging plants, Gabriel Ash (which donated a £3,425 greenhouse to the roof garden), Harrod Horticultural, Jayco gloves, Jeyes (which has an RHS pack promotion this summer), Kelkay, Kettler (which has a new wicker and wood RHS-licensed garden furniture range available in garden centres and John Lewis), LG Harris brooms, Melcourt, Original Muck Boot, Plantworks, Scotts of Thrapston, Sitting Spiritually, Thompson & Morgan, Trimetals, Apta Pottery and Whichford Pottery.

There are also more than 20 home and gift manufacturers with RHS-licensed products among the 50-plus licensees. New is Moorcroft RHS rose collection pottery.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew also held a licensee day recently, where its branded product companies met at the gardens. Quincy Leon is head of licensing and development.

Garden Centre Fresh's Brian Redman said he has "high hopes" for his firm's expanded Kew-licensed range of gift packs of bulbs, ferns and orchids. New products, packaging and labelling meant the range has "upped a level" since launch last year as an orchid product, he added.

Although having the licence for the "biggest brand in horticulture" is "daunting", Redman expects the products to sell well into garden centres and hopes to expand the range to include British growers in the future. The bulb range will launch at Blue Diamond Redfields garden centre in Hampshire in August before being delivered more widely.

Kew Enterprises runs licensing. Kew trading activities, which include commercial events, retail, venue hire, Kew Explorer and licensing, raised £8.7m last year, up from £8m the previous year, with a net surplus of £2.5m, up 18 per cent.

Kew said any further detail is "commercially sensitive" but lists licensees as Alitex, CJ Wildlife, Boots, Bianca, Thompson & Morgan, Hartman, Creativetops, Fikkerts, IVO, Fine Art Panorama, Spear & Jackson, Otter House, Taylors of Harrogate, Terrace & Garden, Tom Chambers, Tobo and Yorkshire Flowerpots.

Licensing - Products tied in with movies, brands and kids’ TV shows

Products inspired by new film Finding Dory — including gardening gloves, a watering can and a tool set — have been launched by Disney in the USA.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and Seltzer Licensing Group, the firm’s exclusive global licensing agency, have licensed CedarCraft for Miracle-Gro-branded planters and raised garden beds as well as Langley Empire Candle Company for scented candles. The current Scotts Miracle-Gro licensing programme includes Acme United, American Lawn Mower Company, Bond, Garden State Bulb Company, Greenscapes, Horizon Group USA, Swan Hose, TTI Group and West Chester Protective Gear.

This year, V&A licensed Wild & Wolf for a gardening range including tools, enamel mugs and tape measures in green, blue and pink. The range will also feature patterns from William Morris and William Kilburn. The V&A garden collection is available at John Lewis.

Briers is licensed by Historic Royal Palaces to produce gloves and boots with Royal Crown, Tudor Rose and Baroque products. Briers has also produced a Gruffalo range.

The Eden Project has teamed up with IPR Licensing to license products including a new range of candles from Heaven Scent featuring 12 fragrances inspired by Eden’s Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes. Eden has also collaborated with Franchi Seeds to launch a Mediterranean seed range available at Wyevale and RHS stores.

Bulldog Licensing, agent for the CBeebies series Mr Bloom’s Nursery, has teamed up with charitable organisation The Conservation Volunteers for a new range of Mr Bloom grow your own kits, toddler tools, buckets, watering cans, bird boxes and bug boxes. The charity has produced similar Moshi Monsters ranges.

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