“I’ve worked with Sean for over 17years. He’s a strategic thinker who has worked with some of the top brands in North America. His relationship with retailers, licensees and brand owners are best in class as evidenced by his ability to drive broad distribution of consumer products across multiple platforms and channels. He is passionate about success and his thought leadership is an asset to anyone looking to re-energize a business, build a brand or launch a new product offering.”
Bruce Morrison – President and C.O.O., Trends International
“Based on Sean’s passion and equitable approach to developing a long term relationship, we agreed to become DreamWorks’ master apparel partner in Canada. The collaboration that ensued has led to a very successful partnership for both Brand and Licensee. Sean is extremely proactive and relationship driven. His tireless and tenacious approach to selling and supporting licensees/retailers was extremely valuable in terms of growing the business.”
Michael Eliesen – President & CEO, NTD Apparel Inc.
“Sean was a great partner for Hasbro as we launched the Trolls license in Canada. Both Sean and his team have extremely strong relationships at retail which helped us solidify Tier 1 level programs that ensured that the launch of our Toy line with the Trolls license was flawless. His passion for driving placement and his relationships are best in class which was a key factor in the overall success of the program. He is a great partner and takes the time to learn about our business, so that when we develop retail specific plans we are aligned on all levels. Our joint collaboration has set the foundation for the license well after the initial program was executed. Sean is a great asset for any organization and I hope to work with him again in the future.”
Rob Chuchla – Vice President Sales, Hasbro Canada
“Having known Sean for over 15 years I have continued to be impressed with his thorough knowledge of the Canadian Marketplace and moreover his passion and commitment to the Canadian Licensing Business and the brands he represents. As Canada’s largest Licensed Party Supplier our team enjoyed working alongside Sean, and his Benchmark team, who understood the challenges of our limited retail landscape. It has never been about ‘signing the deal’; but more importantly Sean’s continued focus to bring together the licensee and the retailer to drive sales, create promotional opportunities and continually develop opportunities for each brand he represented so that both retailer and licensee benefited. Sean is a strong believer in brand integrity and building long term relationships and we at Unique Party Favors always appreciated his professional and energetic approach to the business.”
Susan Savedra – President, Unique Party Favors
“We could not have secured and significantly increased our Trolls placement at Walmart for Fall ’16 and Spring ’17 without Sean and his team’s support. It was truly a collaborative effort. It is a great example of what can happen when a licensor works closely with a licensee to help buyers understand the complete scope of an opportunity and have confidence to buy into programs at the same time as other categories are being brought into the store. To go from 2 SKUs for Fall ’16 to 8 SKUs across various footwear categories for Spring ’17 (without any POS data) is remarkable! A big thank you goes out to Sean and the team.”
Rick Chan – Senior Account Executive, Black & White (shoes)
“Our company has had the pleasure of working with Sean in various capacities over the past 15 years. I can unequivocally attest to his integrity when it comes to building partnerships and passion for working together with licensees to develop and position branded programs at retail. Sean constantly pushes for joint business planning in order to align when we go to market. His first-hand knowledge and understanding of the retailer’s and licensee’s challenges, combined with his strategic mindset has resulted in numerous collaborative successes for our company.”
Myles Robinson – President, Centura Brands
“Sean understands the retail landscape and has strong relationships with the buying and management teams at the key accounts. Sean took the time to understand our business and the nuances of the category, which made for a better partnership…working hand in hand with Sean to build our business was a core part of the success that we had together. One of the most important qualities that we look for in a brand partner…is someone who is trustworthy and understands what it takes to go beyond selling in one item but a collection and ultimately a brand. The strategic vision is what makes for a successful business and partnership. Sean would be an asset to any team and it was a pleasure to work with him.”
Margot Lazar – SVP Licensing and Marketing, BBC international
“I’ve known and worked with Sean for the past 15 years. Over that time, I’ve seen him structure merchandise programs for retailers and brands, which have been strategic, innovative, entrepreneurial, and of course successful for all parties involved. He brings these programs to life with a passion and tenacity of someone who truly loves what he does. And he does this all with a high degree of personal integrity and trust; when he says is going to do something, he makes it happen. Sean also understands that business relationships are long-term and not simply short-term transactional deals; as such he treats business dealings respectfully with a long-term vision in mind.”
Chris King – VP Licensing, JD Power
“Sean understands the Canadian market and how to drive growth in all channels of distribution. He leveraged his relationships with retailers’ management and he provided us with merchandising and marketing support to help us secure branded programs at the largest retail chains in Canada. He cares about brand integrity and is passionate about product quality and differentiation. Sean has contributed to licensee’s path to success as a licensed apparel leader.”
Chafik Zakaria – President Born To Shine Consulting • (formerly) President, Paris Geneve Inc
“I have worked in the licensing world for over 10 years; working with all of the major licensors. Having worked with Sean for years I have found him to be the best representative in the industry. His passion for the product, strategic thinking and enthusiasm are contagious. He selects quality vendors who deliver excellent products, that do not diminish the brand, but enhance it, and bring it to life. Sean is determined and willing to work with licensees to achieve the desired goals. Sean has vast experience with retailers and suppliers and uses that to ensure a program is executed well. I have recommended Sean and his team to potential licensors and look forward to working with him again.”
Warren May – Sales Director Franco Manufacturing of Canada
“I had the great pleasure of working with Sean Kay during my time at DreamWorks Animation. At DWA, I was based out of NY, and responsible for retail sales and marketing efforts for Toys R US globally. Sean Kay is a strategic licensing professional, and an absolute expert on both the Canadian licensing marketplace and Consumer Products licensing. The reality is that Canada is certainly a unique market, and while it is common for many US-based licensing organizations to presume Canada is the “51st state,” such thinking inherently ignores the significant opportunity offered by dedicated Canadian strategy. At DreamWorks, Sean educated executive management and the CP organization on the intricacies of the Canadian marketplace, and realized truly meaningful results for brands across the DWA portfolio. Throughout my time at DWA, I found Sean an incredibly collaborative and visionary partner; I was consistently impressed with Sean’s ability to galvanize his Canadian licensees behind key DWA initiatives, and witnessed firsthand the evolution of DWA’s virtually non-existent business at Toys R US to being one of Toys R US Canada’s most trusted licensors.
The Toys R US Canada team learned quickly that when dealing with Sean and Benchmark Licensing that they could expect realistic & educated plans that were specific and tailored to their customer. In partnering with Toys R US Canada to launch Dragons, DinoTrux, Trolls, and more at TRU Canada, Sean was prescriptive at every step, and built great relationships with all levels of TRU’s marketing, merchant, and leadership teams. On multiple occasions (both during and after my time at DWA), TRU leadership shared with me how pleased they were working with Sean and his team. I know my DWA colleagues that worked with Sean on Walmart, Target and retail throughout Canada had similarly impressive experiences.
Retail expertise is a game-changing skill when it comes to working with licensees and manufacturers, and time and again, Sean use his nuanced understanding of retail to bring out the best in DWA’s brand partners. Whether it was working with Master Toy partners like Hasbro (Trolls) or How to Train Your Dragon (Spin Master), or partners across hardlines and softlines categories, I again witnessed first-hand the respect that partners had for Sean, and his ability to secure and partner with brand-right licensees. In particular, Sean’s ability to work with US-based licensees to optimize their Canadian business was always eye-opening; I’m confident that Sean drove significant business for licensees that would certainly not been realized had he not shepherded them through opportunities.
Sean values relationships, and his ability to nurture relationships both within and outside the walls of DWA was surely a key factor in his continued success. Sean is clearly an accomplished professional, but as much as anything, Sean is thoughtful, affable, and positive. His empathy, open-mindedness, and spirit of partnership proved invaluable in dealing with the various stakeholders at DWA, which allowed Benchmark to thrive. I look forward to our professional paths crossing many times more in the future.“
Colin McLaughlin. VP Licensing & Sales – Retail Monster • (formerly) DreamWorks TRU Head of Global Sales