PhatMojo
Consumer Products

How PhatMojo is diving deep into licensing

The newly formed L.A.-based global consumer products development company is taking a fan-based approach to licensing.
October 27, 2016

Who If you haven’t run into anyone from PhatMojo, don’t take it personally. The team at the global consumer products development company takes pride in knowing its brands inside and out—every television episode, gaming level and character—and spends much of its time doing deep-dives into the material, which leaves less time for socializing.

In fact, since the L.A.-based company’s founding in 2015, PhatMojo’s president Kyle McCarthy, CEO Shawn McCarthy, CSO Jason Kraus, creative director Daniel Garcia and chief business development officer┬áBill Graham have worked toward their goal of injecting their fan-first perspective into the licensing business.

PhatMojo kicked off its operations by securing licenses for collectibles, plush and hangers to arcade-style gaming app Crossy Road and the mother of all fan-favorites, Star Wars. The stark difference between managing an up-and-coming app-based property and one of entertainment’s most beloved brands embodies the company’s approach to business, says Graham, who was previously VP of business development at toyco Jazwares.

“We evaluate properties by asking how it engages its intended audience, and how we can be a part of that experience,” he says. “We don’t segment our consideration by film or television, or big industry IP or small. We look at each fanbase as a community. What resonates and how does that community engage with the brand? That’s enormously important to our creative process.”

What PhatMojo has been creating products across a number of categories, including plush, collectibles and hangers, as well as cosplay and apparel. The company received significant positive feedback from fans when its initial collectibles and plush for Crossy Road hit specialty, mid-tier and mass channels in spring 2016. Since then, PhatMojo has partnered with the likes of Disney/Marvel, Cartoon Network and Hipster Whale.

The company will soon be elbow-deep in a number of new communities, as it is currently negotiating several new licenses and on the lookout for more. PhatMojo also has plans to continue to build on its success in plush and collectibles and expand further into toys with the intention of becoming global master toy partner for the right properties.

Latest moves Most recently, PhatMojo partnered with Fox Consumer Products on an all-new product assortment for animated series Bob’s Burgers. PhatMojo will produce figures, plush and small collectibles based on characters from the series that will be available at specialty stores in North America this fall. The CP player was also named one of the new US licensees for Cartoon Network series Steven Universe. PhatMojo’s plush for the brand is currently available in the specialty channel and will soon hit shelves at Hot Topic stores across the US. Plans to expand its Steven Universe line are also currently in development.

What’s next Moving forward, Graham says the most important aspect of future partnerships will be the team’s access to a brand’s creative team. “Obviously from a licensing standpoint, many of the conversations are initiated between business parties and business people from each company, which of course is extremely important,” he says. “But equal to that is our relationship with the creative teams. Ultimately, we really prize those relationships.”

Building a close relationship with those creative partners allows PhatMojo to bring innovation to its products while still honoring its licenses and providing value to customers, Graham says. Understanding the creator’s intention, along with actively engaging fans as part of its research process, influences the choices PhatMojo makes.

Everything—from something as big as character selection to something as small as character features—is chosen with the creators and fans in mind. “There are different considerations from a creative standpoint, but we look at it all in terms of what is most meaningful to the fanbase.”

About The Author
Elizabeth Foster is Kidscreen's Senior Writer. Contact Elizabeth at efoster@brunico.com

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