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Canson splashes onto fine arts scene as first-time licensee

Chorion's latest deal for The World of Eric Carle takes the franchise back to its art-led beginnings and IDs a brand-new licensee working in the premium arts & crafts products category. South Hadley, Massachusetts-based fine arts supplier Canson has produced a line of high-quality art and activity pads based on the property's well-known book characters and images, a licensing first for the manufacturer.
June 1, 2008

Chorion’s latest deal for The World of Eric Carle takes the franchise back to its art-led beginnings and IDs a brand-new licensee working in the premium arts & crafts products category. South Hadley, Massachusetts-based fine arts supplier Canson has produced a line of high-quality art and activity pads based on the property’s well-known book characters and images, a licensing first for the manufacturer.

Canson’s arts & crafts product manager, Giulia Giovanelli, discovered from POS data at major craft chain stores that kid-targeted licensed products in the category sell four to one over non-licensed SKUs, and decided to make a move. Approaching Chorion for the rights to The World of Eric Carle was almost a no-brainer – Carle’s rich art represents limitless imagination and top-notch caliber, and both of these attributes fit with Canson’s premium philosophy.

Shipping to retail at press time, the range that came out of the deal consists of five different SKUs, all of which include how-to/step-by-step sections for parents and teachers to help kids get their creative juices flowing with lots of room for artistic freedom. Sketch and Tell Books (targeting kids six and up), for example, feature various Carle characters on the front covers and drawing pages, with messaging that encourages kids to use them to tell their own stories.

R&D focused on making sure the products were developed in line with the way kids create. ‘We made all of our pads in a landscape format because that’s how kids that age see the world,’ explains Giovanelli. ‘And we made it so that the covers flap over all the way because kids use large movements to draw.’ Each product also offers something creative and unique, such as color charts and mixing guides, and everything is printed on Canson’s trademark archival papers so kids’ creations will last longer.

SKUs in the line range in price from US$1.99 up to US$14.99, and they are currently only sold in North America. But Giovanelli says there are plans to extend distribution to Australia, Japan and Eastern Europe, traditionally strong markets for the Eric Carle brand. The license also lets Canson expand into channels beyond fine arts & crafts outlets, including school & teacher supply stores and toy chains. On the flip side of the partnership, Chorion VP of licensing Pamela Ferris-Muller was drawn to the opportunity to extend the brand’s reach into arts & crafts retail, and both companies are keen to take the line into mass down the road.

Looking ahead, Canson hopes to add more SKUs next year, and now that it has pioneered its first licensing deal, Giovanelli is on the hunt for art-driven preteen and teen properties.

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