On the back of an award winning year for Squishmallows, The Bugg Report had the chance to speak with Jazwares SVP of Global Licensing, Sam Ferguson about the continued growth of the Squishmallows brand.
Thanks for speaking to us Sam! Can you explain why Squishmallows is so popular right now?
We are fortunate to have such a passionate Squishmallows fan base all around the world making the brand not only a collectible phenomenon, but now an evergreen lifestyle property across many product categories.
The iconic Squishmallows brand features unique collectible plush with lovable personalities, whimsical designs, and ultrasoft feel which our fans can’t get enough of. Over 2,500 different Squishmallows have been launched so far and in 2022 alone, over 100 million units were sold around the world!
Squishmallows has been on Australian and New Zealand shelves for over four years already and our fan base in the region continues to grow. We are seeing this connection with the brand via the growth of the core toy programme but also the success of our consumer products lines across all key retail accounts.
How are you engaging with fans in-person and online?
Social media has been one key to the brand’s growth and we’re very pleased to say that the majority of coverage has been organic as many celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Addison Rae and Lady Gaga, to name a few, are passionate Squishmallows fans!
We’re also connecting with fans with meaningful fan-ﬁrst experiences, including Squish Tour events this and last year, plus back-to-back viral activations at VidCon Anaheim. In 2022, fans experienced a one-of-a-kind Squishmallows Human Claw Machine, and this year fans got the chance to jump into a giant “Squish Pit,”. Both VidCon live activations were added to the Squishmallows on Roblox video game, bringing these in-person and viral moments to the virtual metaverse.
On March 7th this year we held the first ever Squishmallows Day. This socially-driven, fan first campaign was celebrated across the globe with exclusive merch, product reveals, brand news and all day giveaways.
Squishmallows appears to be appealing to a multi-generational fan base. How is that appeal translating into product launches?
From our internal sales data, as well as our social media metrics, it’s clear that have a very wide fan base for Squishmallows. This multi-generational appeal has fuelled exciting cross-category collaborations in beauty, apparel, home decor, and much more, resulting in a diverse consumer products program.
Within the past year the Squishmallows brand has partnered with contemporary fashion brands including Girl’s Crew for a jewellery co-lab and Nails Inc for polish and nail care.
We’re also very excited to announce a street fashion co-lab partnership with PUMA which will launch in the first quarter of 2024.
These partnerships are a key to our on-going strategy, given the halo effect they create across the franchise. We’re laser-focused on fan-first product collaborations that celebrate the brand in a meaningful way, but most importantly are authentically Squishmallows.
Can you tell us about your growing licensing business in Australia and New Zealand?
Our licensed ranges have been on shelves for twelve months now in ANZ and sales are very strong. Key stand outs include our slippers, bags and sleepwear programmes with Caprice and our DTR stationery programme with Kmart.
We have some exciting new launches coming for the end of 2023 from Hinkler with publishing (arts and craft), Impact Rock with posters and giftware and Zak with lunch and hydration plus Hot Topic with health and beauty.
We’ve partnered with Banter to manage the licensing roll out with the programme being spearheaded by John Vasta who has been consulting with the Banter business for a number of years.
Can you tell us more about the plans for the Squishmallows brand in 2024 and beyond?
In 2024, we have a significant amount of activity planned to continue to grow the Squishmallows brand. We have extensive global marketing campaigns in place, but also localised ANZ activities to strengthen the connection with the existing fan base and continue expanding our reach.
Earlier this year we were excited to announce our partnership with the East Side Games Group who is currently developing a Squishmallows mobile game.
We have hundreds of new styles launching as well as a wide array of consumer products launches in key markets. We also have new territories coming on board with new CP ranges to launch within the next twelve to eighteen months.
These activations will continue to grow the brand into 2025 and way beyond, so watch this space!
This article is also featured in Edition 46 of The Bugg Report Magazine