Fan Girl Consulting and Brand Management is an Orlando, Florida-based licensing agency. Founded in 2018 by Disney, Hasbro, and Lucasfilm-alum Anita Castellar, the company is on a mission to help brands unlock and engage with their fandoms through thoughtful consumer products and activations.
Castellar is best known for her work with the Star Wars brand and its fandom. At her previous posts, she helped to develop the "Build Your Own Lightsaber" experience at Disney Theme Parks, Star Wars x SMS Audio headphone campaign (feat. 50 Cent), and the Star Wars x HP Laptop retail launch among others. As CEO and founder of FanGirl, Castellar leverages her unique understanding of participatory culture to broker one-of-a-kind deals for clients, offer representation at trade shows, build lasting partnerships, and identify white spaces in the marketplace on behalf of her clients.
The FanGirl client roster currently includes Boss Fight Studio, BunnyLou, FanWraps, WuTang-Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard, and more. In 2019, the company launched a new digital series titled "Fangirl Friday Live!" via Instagram Live that explores the business of fan culture. The company has plans to expand its global footprint and media activity over the next few years.
FanGirl employs a small but mighty team that consists of Castellar, her husband, and additional support staff. When the business first launched, the team used spreadsheets, emails, and paper to manage customer data and contracts. The system worked for a brief period of time. However, the inefficiencies became apparent when the client and contract volumes increased. The team began to worry that manual analysis would lead to miscalculations and production roadblocks that could undermine their credibility. They knew that they needed to be as stealth as possible to accelerate growth.
"We needed to catalog the information as accurately as possible to help our clients strategize and improve the health of their IPs," says Castellar. "We were terrified that the analog method would lead to a crippling mishap during the product development process. I love the saying, 'it's better to have a system in place before you have a problem,'" says Castellar.
The company also needed to find a system that allowed for custom deal parameters.Their smaller clients relied on unique compensation structures that went beyond standard royalty or minimum agreement formulas. The "perfect" FanGirl solution had to be flexible and intelligent enough to generate accurate reports, no matter how unique the agreement terms.
Anita spent months researching licensing relationship management technology. Her research included interviews with respected colleagues to hear about their experiences and an examination of her interactions with licensing-focused service providers in her previous roles. Anita quickly ruled out several well-known solutions. She recalled her disappointment in the "clunky, rigid machinery" she had been forced to use in the past.
She wanted something more user-friendly and interactive for her team. Anita decided to take a critical look at the value propositions of the newer digital solutions on the market to help her make a fully informed decision.
One thing that stuck out to her was the poor customer service her team encountered while attempting to secure quotes and demos from some service providers. An intelligent, state of the art solution was not enough. She needed to know that helpful people with a genuine interest in seeing her succeed were available to help if she had a problem.
Flowhaven was the only provider to meet 100% of her needs.
'Flowhaven's Customer Success team is very hands-on, and they demonstrated a real interest in learning about our company to help us solve our unique challenges," says Castellar. "I like knowing that I can pick up the phone at any time and speak with someone who knows me."
Some tools Anita bypassed were built for everyday businesses and therefore lacked licensing-specific modules. Others only provided partial data insights and required the purchase of an additional solution to generate crystal clear insights into specifics program and the production pipeline. Anita and her team wanted to be smarter with their time and concentrate on their clients, so applications that required additional work were automatically crossed off.
During the Flowhaven onboarding process, Anita knew that she made the right decision for her rapidly growing business. She was given white-glove treatment by the Customer Success team, who scheduled calls and tutorials with her group to tailor the product suite around to suit their preferences. The FanGirl team was even able to engage with the CEO and approach him with ideas for future product updates.
"The onboarding was very simple," remarks Castellar. "We told them what our needs were, who our partners were. They set us up with a CS member who walked us through the system step by step. We would leave each session with fun, little homework assignments, and then come back to work on our next step. We felt like we had a coach cheering us on, we needed that during the rough patches."
Her team began to see the benefits of using the Flowhaven system right away.
The Customer Success team helped them upload the historical data they had been analyzing manually. The detailed analysis gave the team an instant snapshot of their operations. It gave them the power to see if contract terms were being honored, evaluate successes, and spot bottlenecks in real-time. The process that had taken hours in the past now took minutes. Even more exciting, the team could now share their reports with partners in an instant. The new speed at which the team was able to work gave them a new competitive advantage.
"Our situation dictated that we needed more ownership over our lives and my time," says Castellar. "Now, we have that."
The Flowhaven solution also helped to calm the team's anxieties around accounting. The CS team introduced the group to Flowhaven's royalty validation tools, which helped to compare earning reports to the terms of each agreement and the sales reporting tools to help them keep tabs on each program's financial health times.
The FanGirl team is enthusiastic about their relationship with Flowhaven. As they continue to develop their new growth strategies, Flowhaven will further embed the solution into their daily operations and enhance their experience to help them develop actionable strategies that delight customers and their fans.
"I like to do good business with good people, that's how I've always navigated my career. The Flowhaven system is amazing. But the high integrity and high-quality output of their staff stand made the difference."
Are you looking for solutions to help you grow your licensing agency? Book a demo with Flowhaven today to learn more!