One year after leaving his role as president of American Greetings Properties, Jeffrey Conrad is starting a new venture—Peeko,which will focus on branding, design and illustration. The Salt Lake City, Utah-based company will create new IPs, as well as also help other small IP owners expand their brands to pitch to major distributors.
With his non-compete clause ending in April, Conrad says Peeko has a handful of new IPs ready, and not all of them are created in-house. He gives the example of the Viola dolls he found for sale at a Colorado fair. “I would never have expected in a million years that next door to someone selling a bunch of ears of corn, there were going to be these beautiful pieces of art,” Conrad says. The handcrafted dolls are available on Etsy, but Conrad and his team are now working with the creators to expand the brand’s reach with a consumer products program and entertainment pitch called: Viola and the Pattern Patch. “A lot of people just don’t know what to do when they have something very special,” he adds.
Conrad started at AG Properties in 1990 as an illustrator and writer. He was executive director during the relaunch of Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake in the early 2000s, and worked his way up to president and chief creative officer in 2009 before stepping down last year.
Leo Espinosa also joins Peeko as its chief creative officer. Espinosa is an illustrator and creator of the animated TV series Sushi Pack—a cartoon about anthropomorphic pieces of sushi and a wad of wasabi that fight crime— which AG Properties optioned and developed during Conrad’s tenure.