On this episode of Confectionery Conversations, the podcast by Candy Industry, Clark Taylor, senior V.P. of sales and marketing at CandyRific, sat down with Candy Industry Editor Crystal Lindell to share insights into the world of brand licensing. CandyRific is known for its large offering of licensed confectionery items, from blockbuster movies to children’s television characters.
Taylor discussed how CandyRific is adjusting to eCommerce sales, how the company navigated the challenges of the movie industry over the last year, and how consumers have responded to their Fanimation products.
Listen to the full conversation at the audio link above, or check out a lightly edited transcript of the conversation below.
Crystal Lindell: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Confectionery Conversations, the podcast by Candy Industry. Our guest today is Clark Taylor, senior v.p. of sales and marketing at CandyRific. Thank you so much for joining us today, Clark. Can you introduce yourself a little bit and talk about CandyRific as a company and what your role is there?
Clark Taylor: Sure! Crystal, thank you very much for this opportunity! This is always fun and exciting.
And something, something we enjoy doing is talking about who we are and what we do. So, I am the senior vice president of sales, I should mention, for CandyRific. We are a licensed-driven marketing and sales organization. We've been doing this for about 20 years. A lot of our business is revolving around what we would consider evergreen licenses, as well as some of the premium licenses are actually out there in the marketplace as well, too, such as M&M'S Mars and that type of thing.
We facilitate opportunities between the retailers in the U.S., as well as worldwide. We're actually in 50 countries, internationally, so that's kind of a big thing that a lot of people don't know about. So we facilitate these different opportunities, primarily in the kid’s arena, that we deal with an awful lot of our fans. We are really good with kids between the ages of 3 and 7. And we're starting to do an awful lot of expansion, as well, on some consumable products on part of our Hilco side of the business, which I think we’re going to talk about a little bit later. As well as we are starting to get involved with some of the adult gifting type opportunities and kids gifting opportunities. Which we found that there's an opportunity for that in the marketplace, based on some of our conversations with the large retailers.
Crystal Lindell: Yeah. So as you kind of mentioned, licensing is very important for your company and basically your vision for what products you guys focus on. And we're going to talk a little bit about that today, and licensing and how that kind of all works. So can you talk about, let's start with some of the new licensing products that you guys have coming out, and why that focus on licensing for your company? I know you said that you have the focus, but why is the focus?
Clark Taylor: You know, years ago, our owner, Rob Auerbach, he came from the toy industry with the inventing side of the business. And so we had several different projects that we work with, [and] one of the early items was an item called a giggle head, and you shake it back and forth, and it squeaked, so kids liked that. Parents hated it, but kids loved it.
And then from there, we just started expanding and looking at different ways that we could improve the product. And one of those things that came about was a conversation that we had with M&M’S Mars. They were looking for somebody to create different platforms for them to involve younger consumers and some of their consumer base. So, we started, probably about 15 years ago, I think, we started a relationship with Mars. And, we started building fans and containers that would hold Mars product, plastic footballs, things that were geared towards different events in the industry.
And so from there, we realized that licensing is an easier solution sometimes, to bridge that gap between what a consumer is looking for and what a retailer is comfortable setting up in their stores. Non-licensed items are really good, but they're a challenge because there is no brand loyalty or brand equity behind that. And so then you're having to, do not only just sell the item, but sell the perceived quality, or the concept behind that on what people are looking for, and what they really want to spend their money on. So that's kind of how we moved into the licensing arena.
Today, we have a licensing agreements with, of course, Disney. Disney is one of our, larger entertainment licenses. We also do programs, we've done programs with Just Born before. We do stuff, of course, with Mars. We've done a couple of different licorice programs.
We do Warner Brothers, Minions, DreamWorks, Paw Patrol, Baby Shark — just about anything you can think of. So if the consumers are looking for it, CandyRific is probably talking to somebody about it.
Crystal Lindell: And you have you have Space Jam coming out, right?
Clark Taylor: Yes. Space Jam. That movie is going to be coming out this summer, in July. And so this is a remake, I believe the first Space Jam, if I recall, was about 20, 20 years ago, 25 years ago. [Editor’s note: The original Space Jam was released in November 1996, 25 years ago]. And, of course, that had a very long shelf life, and people still remember that when so we're tying in with Warner Brothers to do Space Jam, too. This film will have LeBron James in it.
And then, one of the things that we do is, we're actually looking at, what we believe are considered evergreen type of licenses are evergreen properties. And with Space Jam that involves a lot of the Looney Tunes characters with Bugs, Bunny and Daffy Duck. And so, we are creating our fans and some of our platform stuff that is going to be geared more towards the evergreen side of Looney Tunes, as opposed to just the Space Jam movie itself. So we know that everybody loves Bugs Bunny. And so we think that that's going to be a great solution.
[Editor’s note: Read more about the 2021 CandyRific Looney Tunes line in this article].
Crystal Lindell: Yeah, I've always found licensing very interesting and I don't feel like a lot of people really know how it works. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, what is the first step? Do you guys think of a license you want to get? Do you go to a conference and see them? Is it both? What are the steps involved in getting those agreements and how that kind of process works?
Clark Taylor: You know, I think that we might have — we here at CandyRific — actually might have a little bit of an easier path to that because we've been doing it for so long, so we've kind of grandfathered in on some of the roadblocks that you might run into. So we will look at the evergreen licensing programs. ‘OK? What's going to be something that will stay around for a long time?’ Because it is very expensive to create the toys and the projects that we do just because of the cost of molding, the cost of production. There's an awful lot of small details involved in them.
So what we will try to do is, we'll try to find a license for a project that will stay with us for 2, 3, 4 years. So you can amortize out some of the expenses that happened at the beginning of the process. So that's one thing.
The other thing that we do is we have a crack design team that is working with us as well, too, and they take a look at what they see as trending, and the Internet, you know, some of the blog posts and those type of things as well, too. And they will come to us and say, ‘Hey, here is a, a very interesting license that we think might have some legs two to three years from now,’ Because a lot of times, these processes will take at least two years to get to market. So with that being said, that's, that's kind of the first step to see where we want to go then.
We reach out to whoever owns that license and it could be managed through a licensing agent that might have 10, 15, 20 different companies that they manage the licenses for. So we would talk to the agent.
Then there's a negotiation part that goes through that saying, ‘OK, how much how much are you going to pay me to get this license?’ And then we go back and forth. We do some estimates on what we think we would be able to sell, either in just the U.S. market, the domestic market, or if this is an international program there might have to be what we think we would internationally.
So you get two different levels that you have to have your conversations on, and then it boils down to ‘Here's what you are going to require us to pay you for a guarantee.’ You know, each year of the contract is — so it might be a one-year contract, two-year, three-year contract — and then in addition to that, then you have to then sell it into the marketplace and at least guarantee the minimum, and then anything over and above that, they also make the money on those. So it's a piece of the business. And a lot of times licensing the contracts will run anywhere between 3, 4, or 5 percent, up to 10, 12, 14 percent. That kind of depends on the strength of the license and what you think would be appropriate for that. So that's kind of the process. Like I said, it does take a couple of years. Sometimes you deal directly with the people that own the business or their own that license and you don't go through a brokerage.
Crystal Lindell: Yeah, so one of the followups I had about that was how much — I'm assuming it varies from license to license — how much are they involved in like the process of creating which products you're going to put the license on? Like, are they involved or, you know, or their quality standards or things like that that they insist on? Or how does that process work? And I’m assuming it varies?
Clark Taylor: Oh, yes, there are a lot of quality processes that you’ve got to go through. So it really kind of depends on the licensor, as to how they want to put this program together. There are some that know our quality, and they go, ‘OK, fine, go build what you want, let us know what it is, and we'll go from there.’
Then there's a lot of them that have a very, very strict program. They're going, ‘OK, I only want these individuals to have this type of a shape, or they need to have these eye colors, or they need to have this type of features on their face.’
So there's some that are very, very stringent. So that, of course, adds time because you've got to go back to the molding process. We do have a couple of outside organizations that will do all of our sculpting because, of course, all of these are done in clay first, and then they're moved over into the plastic mold system. So we look at these pre-production samples to see where we're at, get those approved by the licensing team and then we kind of move from there. But, oh yeah, there's a lot of, there's a lot of requirements, a lot of t’s to cross and i’s to dot before you can put one of these on the shelf.
Crystal Lindell: So you kind of alluded to this before a little bit, but, the thing that, like, from the outside perspective, seems the most risky, is you're really trying to predict trends that aren't exactly happening yet, or aren’t happening on a wide scale. And if you, if you miss predict that, or don't predict that correctly, you know, these three- or four-year deals could turn out not to be so good. How much of it is predicting the future, you know, like trying to read a crystal ball? And how do you kind of determine when to take those risks and when things are worth, you know, trying to get the license for, basically?
Clark Taylor: Have you ever been to Vegas? This is a little bit, like, when you step up with at the crap table and you put your money down and you throw the dice though, and then you close your eyes because you can't really see what's going to happen for three years. So, it's a challenge. It is a challenge. And one of the ways that we, as well as the other competitors that we have in this arena, have tried to look at this is we've tried to use what we call those evergreen properties. So that's going to be, Mickey Mouse. That's going to be The Avengers. That's going to be maybe a Paw Patrol. But even those — even when you get one of those licenses as an evergreen — because of the changing landscape in America today and in the world today, you have the potential to have a challenge that you've never even thought about. One of those, that has come up recently, was with Paw Patrol. Chase, the police dog, was targeted last year. So, that one was one of the challenges where Paw Patrol — a child's license was, I don't know, I guess the challenge is going to be that — that was not perceived as a good solution.
So, that happened to be one of the times that even though you pick what you believe are evergreen licenses, there's other circumstances that could make a challenge on that. So, I guess that would be one of the, one of the issues.
And I would like to say that we've batted 100 percent, but, unfortunately, no. Actually, Rob, our owner, has a closet in his office called his, ‘Closet of broken dreams.’ That is work, all of these toys, and all of those licenses that we've created, that didn't quite work right, he has those. And every now and then, he goes to that closet and he'll pull one out and throw it back on my desk and go, ‘No, no, no. That is not where we want to go.’ It's a challenge.
Crystal Lindell: Yeah, can you talk a little bit, maybe, about a time, that you really wanted a license and really took maybe a bigger risks than you normally would. And then I ended up working out? Or any kind of examples of one of the un-broken dreams, I guess you could say.
Clark Taylor: A very recent one right now is, we have an item that we're working with, with Nickelodeon. And Nickelodeon actually has this from the creator, this Pinkfong. And this is a product called Baby Shark, which the song is one that will get stuck in your head. And if you're a parent, you will go to the garage and turn your car on, just to hear the sound of the car to get [Baby Shark out of your head]. But the kids love it. And it is a baby shark. That was one of the ones that was a trend, and trends we look at, are going to be something that's going to be a two-year to three-year program. [That’s] kind of the way that we believe those will hit, something along the lines of what we kind of thought was maybe with a Minecraft or Pokémon or some of those that actually have a very strong peak. I'm going assume that they go away, but they don't have that, that real strong longevity over the periods that we are looking for.
Well, with Baby Shark. So we looked at that. And we realize the song, was a big part of that event. One of the items that we create is called a light and sound toy. So we have the molded Baby Shark. And when you push the button, the lights light up the shark, and then it also plays the song. So we were concerned that maybe this might have been a trend that we missed. You know, it already been out in the marketplace, I think, actually Baby shark has been out for about 5 to 8 years, somewhere in that range. And we looked at it about a year ago, and we thought, ‘Well, maybe this is at the end, we just don't know.’ So we went ahead and pursued that. And we had a challenging decision inside because we had yays and a lot of nays. And we finally convinced him that this is one we want to try, and we put it out there. And today, we cannot make enough. It is one of those licenses that we've got retailers sitting on the sidelines that are asking for it.
And of course, a lot of our products are brought in from Hong Kong, because that's where our toys are made. All of our candy that we put in our products is either going to be coming from Canada — from our Canada sister group — or it’s going to be coming from Mars for the United States for the Mars programs. And so, the challenge now become shipping this stuff and trying to get the Baby Sharks to market.
And we've had a couple of people go, ‘Hold up. Are you telling me, my Baby Shark is stuck on a ship? It's not going to ship in a harbor and I can't get my Baby Shark?’ So, so right now, that's one of the challenges that we run into on just our production program.
Crystal Lindell: Yeah, that's, I hadn't really thought about the logistical issues that you guys might be facing. But with a global supply chain like that, it obviously sounds like it's something that you guys had to navigate that over the last year?
Clark Taylor: Yes, it is. Yeah, that's typically, to bring one of these items to market — once all of your molding is done, once all of your designs are finalized, and everything set up and ready — we usually look at about 100 days from if more of our major retailers came to us and said, ‘OK, I want to make a mark in the marketplace, I need 2,000 cases.’ We come back. We said, ‘That's awesome, thank you very much for the opportunity. I will have that to you in four months.’ And then we can plan. So that's kind of the challenge that you run into with novelty, especially novelty today in all of the programs that we're doing that are international based.
Crystal Lindell: That’s interesting. I did want to ask, and you know, I don't know if you want to talk about this, but, how much are you guys doing more with online retail sales? Because I know candy sales have gone up online so much this last year with no more digital grocery shopping and that kind of thing. Are you guys in that sector? Or how are you guys navigating that?
Clark Taylor: It is a challenging sector for us, and the reason why is because we have focused so much of our energy onto the retail situation, the retail opportunities for brick and mortar, that we, we never really saw this as an online opportunity until last year. And then last year, quite obviously, everybody was kind of forced into that situation. So one of the things that CandyRific typically does is when we create our displays or what we're offering up to the stores, we create these in assortments. So when I give you a 12-count tray or a six-count tray of our products, it’s not just Darth Vader. It's Darth Vader, it’s some Luke, it's some Leia, it's you know, all of the different characters that you get in Star Wars — there might be five different characters. And that's very difficult for a retailer today to be able to pick and choose each one of those items out, and then not end up with a challenge at the end with, ‘Well, I've got way too many Darth Vader's leftover how do I sell this?’ So we are moving through that, and one of the things that we're doing is we're creating some straight packs.
So, you know, when you do see an Elf on a Shelf, or when you do something with Baby Shark, then that way people are able to say, ‘OK, Hey, I want the Blue Baby Shark. Put it in my bag, and we'll go from there.’
One of the other things that we're also seeing, too, with all the retailers, and I'm sure all of the other manufacturers are as well, too, is that there are an awful lot more requirements today to do the online sales.
For instance, we've got a major account in the U.S. today, they're saying, ‘OK, every time you present a new item, I need a minimum of four images. I need the front, I need the side, I need the back, and then I need an image of the item with the candy taken out of it.’ So that they can actually see what is involved because with all of the CandyRific products, candy is an added feature to our items. And so it's usually in the handle or inside of the packaging and so the retailer is saying, ‘Hey, I need you to pull that out. Give me an image that shows what candy is going to be involved with that, and then we can go from there.’ And then, of course, every one of them is looking for what's called short copy and long copy. You know, that has to be involved or has to be included with everything that they put it online. So it's a new era for us over here. We're moving as fast as we can.
Crystal Lindell: So are there any fun facts about, you know, licensing deals or projects that you've done that you could maybe share with our listeners?
Clark Taylor: Fun facts, some days none of it’s fun. But then again, pretty much you're selling candy for a living so that can't be that bad of a job.
I think one of the fun things that we get a chance to do every now and then is that when we are going to one of these major licensing groups, to see what their portfolio is for the year, what their movies are, or with the entertainment programs you're going to be. You get a chance to walk the halls, to talk to some of their designers. So that's always a fun thing.
And then, you're kind of in the know. I mean, we've got to sign non-disclosure agreements. You know what's going to happen in the movie and who's going to get killed off, and, and so you're kind of in the know about some of the secret stuff that's coming out. So, of course, that’s never really gotten me anywhere at any of the parties that I go to. So that might not work.
Crystal Lindell: Yeah, that sounds actually like one of the funnest things, like I'm a big MCU fan so I'm jealous. I mean, I'm assuming you get some of that information ahead of time. But actually, speaking of the movie industry — obviously another industry greatly impacted by the pandemic. How has that affected things? I mean, from a consumer perspective, I've been waiting for Black Widow to come out, the movie. And I saw Black Widow merchandise in the store is last year, because that's supposed to come out. So I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about how that might have affected launches or timeframes, or if you just kind of had to go with what you've been planning? Even though some of these movies got delayed or how that kind of worked for your end?
Clark Taylor: That was a huge challenge for anybody that's doing licensing. I don't care if you're doing bed sheets or if you're doing candy. It did affect a lot of different people, a lot of different manufacturing groups. One of the things that we have seen is when the pandemic first hit, of course, movie theaters were closed, people were stuck at home, couldn't really figure out what they were going to do.
Then you saw the big turn that started happening with the, with the big entertainment companies where they started putting stuff online. You saw the big surge with Disney+, and so I think what people have realized, or even the entertainment group, has realized, is that people are still looking to be entertained and so by the fact that these have now moved to home entertainment options, I know one of the first ones was, Trolls World Tour from DreamWorks.
So whenever the Trolls World Tour movie came out, they were one of the first ones to launch on what would be considered a pay-per-view program. I think it was $19.99 to view it that night or $24.99, and you had unlimited viewings. And that was a huge, huge success. So I think that was the impetus for everybody to start launching these entertainment properties, both online and then waiting for the theater, the theatrical programs to come back into play. Theatrical is now, starting to open back up again and everybody enjoys that type of an experience. So I believe the other thing that you're seeing is the retailers are going, ‘This is an opportunity for us too still take advantage of the excitement level around your Black Widow movie, when it does come back out, or your Minions 3 movie, which is now slated now for 2022.’ But anytime one of these entertainment opportunities shows up, the retailers are going, ‘OK, I can get involved in this? I can be a part of this.’ And so that is starting to come back around.
Crystal Lindell: So, it didn't affect the timing? If you don't mind me asking, like if you had planned to release things to retailers last May, I think, was when it was originally supposed for them for Black Widow, or, you know, not necessarily that example. Did they just get released anyways, you're saying? Or, did some of that stuff get held or how did that work?
Clark Taylor: A lot of is still being held. You know, they're still trying to figure out the best timing. And if you look at licensing, in the entertainment category, a lot of times you might have DreamWorks and Disney that will be planning a major event during the same window. And at some point, in this whole process, one of them will say, ‘OK, hold it, this is not the best timing for us. So, instead of June, we want to move this movie back to September.’ That happens behind the scenes with them. So, from time to time we will receive enough information in advance so we can then promote that that change and inform the buyers and so they can then get behind that, put that stuff into the stores.
With the pandemic situation, this became a rolling challenge. For instance, Ghostbusters 3 [Ghostbuster Afterlife], that movie I believe was supposed to come out, I believe it was around Halloween time last year  around September, October. That was then moved I believe, to March of this year. That was then moved again, and I think that it's currently now set for November of this year . One of the very interesting things that happened with that item or that license, we created The 59 Cadillac that is in that Ghostbusters movie as one of our light and sound toys that we play with. And Walgreens had already made the decision to use that item during the Halloween timeframe of last year. So they'd committed, we had built, it was here. They put it into the stores. Even though there was no movie, at all, that item had a phenomenal success, and I think what that ties back to is when you pick good properties, when you create good entertainment value, solutions, platforms, they'll sell. They don't necessarily have to have the movie, or have to have the event. I'm pretty sure that when you see the Black Widow fans that we make, you're probably going to buy a Black Widow fan, even though you haven't gotten a chance to see the movie.
Crystal Lindell: That’s fascinating. That’s kind of like peak, like, you've reached the pinnacle of picking licenses when you're picking things that will sell even when the movie isn't coming out, it feels like, you know? That’s awesome.
Clark Taylor: That is one of those times when you're holding your breath. So you've got you know, a major partner who has tied in with, you know, a major event and tried to do it at a certain specific timeframe, and all of us were sitting on the sidelines, going, ‘I hope this works. I hope this works.’ And it did. It did. That one, was very good.
Crystal Lindell: That's awesome!
So I did want to ask, I mean, the other thing that I think a lot of people were very concerned about — although I don't know how much that ended up playing out — was seasonal products over the last year because people were celebrating holidays completely differently. And I wanted to ask a little bit about how important licenses are for seasonal products? And then maybe if you can also talk a little bit about navigating, you know, the most recent year that we've all been through, and how that kind of worked out?
Clark Taylor: Sure. You know, seasonal products, the great thing about a seasonal opportunity is that every retailer in the United States basically builds a whole new planogram every two months and so they are bringing in new, fresh, and exciting things from everybody out there, no matter the size of the company. Because you've got 24, 36, 48 feet worth of seasonal merchandise that is refreshing and the consumers are seeing something new all the time. So that's good.
During the pandemic, one of the things that we saw on the novelty arena and in the licensed arena as well is that parents were rewarding kids — and kids is one of the key areas that we work with. Parents were rewarding kids and themselves with treats. They were finding ways to almost say thank you to their family members for dealing with and putting up with the challenges of what we're all going through. Novelty as a whole has grown phenomenally.
Some of the last report, so we had on the Valentine's numbers, the novelty category for chocolate products up almost 10, 10.5 percent, I believe. And the novelty category for non-chocolate items was up over 20 percent from the previous year. So I think that, yeah, these type of items, as well as, you know, with the licensing part of it that just creates a mental safety net for consumers, and for customers. Where all of a sudden they’re going, ‘OK, Hey, this is a great item! And it's also being promoted or also being signed off on by Disney or DreamWorks or the Minions team or whoever is going to be.’ And so the consumers are going, ‘This is perfect! This is, it's just what my kids love! It's got the great quality that I want! It's available here in the stores! At my local store, my local grocery store, and my drug store, my, mass store and I'm pleased to give my kids something that they deserve. They've earned that. I like that.’
Crystal Lindell: So, yeah, I know that I've been like kind of sending candy to people more during the pandemic as well. Just kind of like birthday gifts and things like that so, that makes sense. And it sounds like the license creates an instant trust with the product that they're going to buy, is what you're saying, right?
Clark Taylor: It does. It does. And I think that is the, it's a very easy bridge for people to use to cross going, ‘OK, hey, here's something that I know the brand. I am sure that they're buying good quality stuff that we're going to be putting into this. So, yeah, ‘I’m comfortable, I like it, and I'm going to buy it.’
Crystal Lindell: One of the coolest newer products that you guys have is the Fanimation fan. Can talk about what those are, why they're so cool, and how they've kind been received by the consumer?
Clark Taylor: Yes, of course I will. Fanimation fans, this was a technology that we've seen around for probably about eight years now. But the ones that we had seen in the marketplace were very large. I mean, they were 14 inches across, 24 inches across. So they were a great big advertising piece that people would use, and we thought, ‘You know, I wonder if our group can actually figure out a way to reduce the size on these and get it into somebody's hand.’
So we then were able to miniaturize all of the technology that you needed for the Fanimation fans. And, so, this is a group that's a fan blade that has light diodes, and, I believe the number is like 11 or 13 actual lights that are on each fan blade. And as it spins, there is a small chip on the inside that tells those lights when to turn on and when to turn off, and it creates a little moving story that will run anywhere from 35 seconds to, I think, some of the longest ones that we've seen so far are almost a minute. And it will move from visual to visual as the button is pushed, and the fan blades move around. Very cool technology, and it's done extremely well. We actually build, I believe it's six different licenses today, and for animation, and we've got some new ones coming out, more of our big ones that we are looking forward to, is Baby Shark animation, because we think those two might tie together very well.
And then, also, we've got a Mandalorian version that we're working on, so you will see a Mandalorian fans around holiday time 2021. Then, we also do one of the newer ones that we do is Peppa Pig. We do one with Paw Patrol. We've got Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and, of course, we've got Looney Tunes. So, there will be a Looney Tunes.
Crystal Lindell: So how are you guys able to keep the price point at the right spot for, you know, possible — I don't know if impulse item is the right word — but how did you guys kind of manage that, with that kind of technology? Because it is, it's really cool. And you know, I've seen them obviously, and they’re really awesome. And it seems like something that should be really expensive, but it's candy products. So I'm guessing you guys had to try and kind of navigate that?
Clark Taylor: Yes, yeah, the price on those is slightly higher. And there is a slight premium for that you know with the technology. We have one of the biggest challenges is that the chips that you have to buy in there when they do production on those there is, let me use the word really, really large number that you have to buy of chips when they are made at the time. And so that is a very large part of the investment is just buying all the technology, um, at the level that you need to, to be able to make it affordable. So that was that was a big step up when we first had to do those. So they are slightly premium, I think, for about 10, 10 to 15 percent higher than what we do in our sculpted fans with a different technique.
Crystal Lindell: But consumers have received them well, and, you know, obviously, are they doing well, or how have they been received in the market?
Clark Taylor: They are doing extremely well. So this is one of those programs that now you're starting to see a lot of the retailers that are leaning in with some of the seasonal opportunities on the Fanimation because you're still in that gifting zone. You're right, here is a pricing structure that you kind of need to take a look at with kids and, and giftable-type licensing things. There are certain levels that people are comfortable spending. And so you have to make sure that your mathematics all work out so that you're not overpricing yourself off somewhere in the marketplace.
Crystal Lindell: I did want to ask before we close out, CandyRific acquired Hilco a few years ago. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, why that decision was made, a little bit, and/or how it affected, you know, your strategy for product development, or even your licensing strategy, or what the future holds for you guys now?
Clark Taylor: Sure, sure, at the time, Hilco was an opportunity that crossed our desks probably about five years ago, I believe, at the stage, and they were more involved in value-oriented toys for kids. So I think they were in that arena, that value-oriented arena. And so we thought that might be a good complement to where we're at. Because we really see CandyRific as more of a premium, premium item, premium licenses and programs. And we started taking a look, and we started talking to a lot of retailers. And a lot of retailers said, ‘No, This is not really what we need. You know, we're looking for different solutions.’ And so, are our program with Hilco, then segued, quickly to what we consider the consumable side of the business. CandyRific is really more of a toy with candy. And Hilco is more of a consumable item that people would be looking for.
So, our Vice President of Sales for Hillco, Lou DiMarco, he has taken upon himself and done an outstanding job at going after some of these evergreen licenses, and creating consumable products. He is able to move himself and his team much quicker to be able to bring packaging to the marketplace, whether it's lollipops, whether it's suckers, whether it's popping candy, gums, mints, all kinds of things that they work with. One of the big licenses that are currently dealing with today is Kool-Aid. And we all know how strong Kool-Aid is in the United States. He has done extremely well with creating programs that a lot of the retailers and the consumers both can accept. The price points are great for what they can do with Hilco. So that is really more of the consumer side of the business. They're very fast-paced and very wide in their breadth on different items that they can bring to market.
Crystal Lindell: And I mean, I don't know if you can answer this, really, but for the future, I mean, do you see CandyRific items including more of the Hilco consumable items, then? Is that blending going to happen, or is it going to happen? Do you know what I'm asking?
Clark Taylor: Yes, we're actually looking, we are evaluating that all the time. One of the things that we have done is, because we are moving into some of that gifting arena, as I've mentioned a little earlier before one of the items that's been created is A Kool-Aid mug that kind of goes [is modeled after] the old Kool-Aid man. It has the same shape and same design as the, as the Kool-Aid man. And this is something that we're then looking at filling with products that [Hilco] has, whether it's the popping candy or the gummies that are underneath that license, and then we would then bring that into the CandyRific program that we do and set that up as part of a gifting solution for the stores. So yeah, we're always in conversation on different licenses that they have, there's a couple of new ones that we're working with.
Sorry, I can't tell you this, kind of like the non-disclosure agreement with Disney. So, yeah. So you will, I think that you will in the future see a lot of programs where you were using evergreen licenses, like Kool-Aid to bring those to market underneath the CandyRific banner with more of the gifting and in the retail stores sell.
Crystal Lindell: It’s all very exciting! Anything else you wanted to add?
Clark Taylor: No, I don't think so, I think just thank you very much for the opportunity and you know, we look forward to more fun and exciting and sweet times ahead.
Crystal Lindell: Thank you! Thank you so much for joining us.
Clark Taylor: Ok, thanks, Crystal!