Ahead of this year’s virtual Festival of Licensing, we’re shining the spotlight on Category Manager – Toys and Interactive Apps, Adam Vincent-Garland. Read on to discover Adam’s career highlights and what he loves most about Aardman’s company culture.
How did you start out in the industry and what is your role at Aardman?
Growing up I was always drawing and designing imaginary things; my own trainers, my own football kits, my own games consoles! Then one day I realised that people can actually get jobs doing this and so I enrolled on a Product Design Degree at Brunel Uni. From there I went on to join the Walt Disney Company. Helping to develop plush toys for all their beloved characters. It taught me so many skills which I was able to transfer to my current role at Aardman as Category Manager for Toys and Interactive Apps.
To date, what has been your biggest professional achievement?
Each time I am in a shop and see a product on shelf that I helped develop gives me a huge sense of pride. But hands down my biggest achievement so far was receiving a writing credit for Shaun the Sheep: Adventures from Mossy Bottom episode Farmstar. I shared some story ideas with the Shaun team and they decided to turn one of them into a full episode! Seeing my name come up on Netflix gave me the biggest smile of 2020 for sure!
Name three people who inspire you:
Daisy Mae Cooper: Hilarious comedic writer
Jurgen Klopp: charismatic world-class leader
Greta Thunberg; formidable inspirational activist
Tell us what a typical day at the studio is like for you?
We have international partners all around the world so I tend to schedule my day around their different time zones and who is awake. So mornings I spend liaising with China and Japan (our biggest markets for Shaun the Sheep!). I will spend time redesigning product concepts and reviewing product samples. You just never know what you will be working with each day. One day it could be Shaun the Sheep toilet roll. The next it is Gold plated jewellery! Afternoons, I use to reach out to interactive companies (who tend to be located in the West). Trying to find new interactive opportunities for our different brands. It’s so thrilling because the market is moving so fast there are always new ways to tell stories and reach our audiences in new and exciting ways.
What do you like most about working at Aardman?
The culture. People love our content the world over. But we don’t manufacture those feel good stories. It’s cultivated through a company of like-minded, friendly, creative people. It’s so inspiring to hear all the amazing projects people are working on. That’s why you’ll often find loitering next to the tea machine waiting for a chitchat.
What’s your desk/work area like – messy or tidy?
Messy! In fact I receive so many boxes of manufacturing product samples per day that it’s not uncommon to see me literally boxed into my desk corner!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
The culture of the sales and marketing team and my boss Rob Goodchild really helps to strike a balanced work/ life schedule. We are expected to work hard, take pride in what we do and have fun whilst doing it. But we all have families and lives outside of the office and no one is expected to take that home with them. Which is great!
Obviously, due to CV-19 we are now working from home and so ARE expected to take our work home with us. But being an employee owned company has meant Aardman’s response and care for its partners has been incredible and helped a lot during this difficult situation.
What’s your all-time favourite project that you’ve been involved with and why?
Shaun the Sheep VR Movie Barn. It was an amazing team effort, utilizing talent across all 4 of the Aardman pillars using an innovative technology and reaching our audiences in new and exciting ways. The app has since had millions of downloads.
What’s your best advice for people wanting to get into the industry?
Experience! Is equally, if not more important than qualifications. Work experience and internships have really helped me along the way. To decide what I want to do and also open new opportunities through the people I have met!
Who is your favourite Aardman character and why?
Babs, Chicken Run. We had a lot in common. I really connected with her. She didn’t want to be turned into a pie and neither do I.
Attending the Festival of Licensing? Adam will be looking for new toy and gift partners, plus new publishing partners for digital games and apps to showcase our global family IP’s. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn, or visit Aardman’s virtual stand to book a meeting.