Licensees have had to develop creative solutions to deal with the ever-changing COVID-19 crisis. The group was uniquely affected by the pandemic, with social distancing orders, remote management, and international shipping delays making it difficult to produce and sell products.
Luckily for Boss Fight Studio, creativity is in their DNA.
Headquartered in Massachusetts, Boss Fight Studio is a creator-led, full-service toy design company. Its founding partners served at leading toy manufacturing companies, including Mattel and Hasbro, where they contributed to the GI Joe, Star Wars, Fantastic Four, Avengers, The Hulk, and Spider-Man product lines, among others.
The company leads in highly-articulated toy design and is celebrated for its ability to breathe new life into classic properties, including Flash Gordon and the Little Prince. In 2014, the company completed one of the most successfully funded action figure Kickstarter campaigns in history, raising more than $400,000. In 2020, Boss Fight Studio won first place in the "Number One Hidden Gem" category at New York Toy Fair.
In 2019, Boss Fight Studio became a Flowhaven partner.
Below, partner and art director Catrina Arana reflects on the company's entry into licensing and how working creatively and adapting digital technology has helped them overcome their challenges.
"In 2013, there was a mass layoff that caused about 2,000 people to lose their jobs all at once," said Arana over video chat from Massachusetts. "A few of us got together and decided to start a toy company."
Boss Fight Studio was created during a period of uncertainty. Tasked with finding new jobs and recognizing whitespace in the toy market, the creative band decided to build a business around figures that offered a full range of motion and captured the essence of the given IP. Despite their enthusiasm, the team lacked the formal business experience it needed to secure licensing partners.
"When we started looking at brand owners, we found out quickly that they had no interest in working with us because they had no record in licensing," recalled Arana.
To scale, they flexed their creative muscles and leveraged their networks. A chance encounter at an industry dinner led to a partnership with the Bucky O'Hare brand. A spirited Twitter exchange helped the group secure a deal with the Sam and Max brand.
To continue momentum and solve their administrative issues, the company knew they needed to invest in a modern solution.
Royalty Reporting Success
When lockdown measures began to affect business, Boss Fight Studio wanted to know how their royalties would be impacted. Flowhaven's royalty reporting technology helped. Arana, whose team now manages more than six licensed properties, was able to see what products had sold and when they were most profitable. as well as validate reports coming in from partners. When consumer spending is down, and buyers are less focused on novelties having a focused view was key.
"When we started, royalty reports were just emails and excel spreadsheets back and forth," offered Arana. "None of us had any business sense so we were learning to do royalty reports from scratch and doing the calculations on our own. There was no confirmation. We were just hoping we didn't screw up. Luckily we started with two small agencies, but when you deal with big companies, you can be fined for every percentage you're off. If we made a single error in our math, we would have had to pay."
A Tool That Fits the "New Normal"
For the Boss Fight Studio team, the new normal sees the team working in new environments and marrying their work and home duties. Flowhaven has helped them to transition smoothly and ensure that they can work from anywhere.
Today, the BFS team is tapped into Flowhaven's mobile capabilities. Partners have logged onto the system from the warehouse floor to validate reports and confirm the product pipeline's progress. During a recent Customer Success support call, one member could walk through a deal from their laptop while the other navigated as she sat inside of her car.
Partner Communications Simplified
Under COVID-19, the Boss Fight Studio understood that their success relied on their ability to maintain open lines of communication with their partners and account for the major decisions that could affect their supply chain. With Flowhaven, the team was able to set notifications, assign tasks, and send frequent updates to their agent and external partners.
"There's a level of professionalism that gets lost when you're emailing a spreadsheet," continued Arana. "This year, our agent is using Flowhaven. She oversees our deals and can see where we are with our royalty reports and even gets reminders about the things we forget. If she has to speak to one of our licensors, she has all of that right information on her desktop."
Businesses around the globe are beginning to reopen. They face new challenges, including a marketplace with new demands. Boss Fight Studio's story offers a glimpse at the recovery process and demonstrates how adapting modern technology is helping companies rebound more quickly.
"When we started our business, I didn't even think about software," said Arana. "Now that we have Flowhaven, I couldn't be happier."
The Boss Fight Studio team is committed to serving its communities during the COVID-19 crisis. In the spirit of sharing, the company has launched weekly Online Action Figure Customization Classes. for more information about the class or to join in, visit bossfightshop.com, and search for "online customizing class."
To learn more about Boss Fight Studio visit www.BossFightStudio.com
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