Just Funky’s Angie Hoyer and Ian McCurrach on creating ‘Secret Handshake’-style products for CATAN and Arkham Horror

Senior Licensing Manager Angie Hoyer and Licensing Coordinator Ian McCurrach talk us through Just Funky’s approach to bringing brands into beverageware, kitchenware, home décor and collectibles.

Guys, it’s great to connect. Before we dive into your Arkham Horror collection, for anyone new to Just Funky, talk us through what you do and the sectors you play in?
Just Funky is a leading licensee manufacturer for all things beverageware, kitchen, home décor and collectibles. Although beverageware and blankets have always been our core and top categories, both our kitchenware and collectibles lines have been growing at an exceptional rate.

We are always looking for new cool products and techniques, so if you see something new on the shelves you haven’t seen before, it may be one of our latest experiments!

Angie Hoyer, Ian McCurrach, Just Funky, Asmodee
Speaking of recent experiments, you’ve partnered with Asmodee Entertainment to launch products around CATAN and Arkham Horror. What appealed about collaborating with Asmodee?

Just Funky has always been a supporter of gaming properties of all types. It only seemed natural to grow more into the tabletop gaming space, since we are a trend-based company.

Our employees – some from our licensing team and some from our design team – were already personal fans of CATAN and Arkham Horror, so we didn’t take much convincing to partner with Asmodee, who are of course one of the leaders when it comes to tabletop gaming.

Yes, I imagine starting a brand collaboration as fans of the IP always helps the process!
Absolutely. Two of our licensing team members actually met over a game of Arkham Horror! The rest, as they say, is history.

Angie Hoyer, Ian McCurrach, Just Funky, Asmodee
Well there we go! Let’s look into your Arkham Horror collection. How did you first get to grips with the brand and identify what elements could work as products in your range?

Every time we sign a new license, we start with a creative call with our design team and our new partner’s creative team. We review our product categories and have a collaborative brainstorm to come up with fun and interesting designs we can bring to market. We also specialise on in-world products; we like to refer to that style of product as ‘The Secret Handshake’ that only die-hard fans would understand.

‘Secret Handshake’ products – like it! On that, is there one item in particular that you feel is an especially apt brand extension for Arkham Horror?
We’ve developed a couple of notebooks that not only look awesome while being very practical for jotting down day-to-day thoughts and ideas, but will also be very useful for board game nights.

Players may want to track their progress or write down tips and tricks for future sessions, or a shopping list for snacks for the next game. If another player has taken too much horror and their character has “gone insane”, they can write it down, so they don’t forget.

Angie Hoyer, Ian McCurrach, Just Funky, Asmodee
Smart! You mentioned earlier that this partnership also makes sense from a trend perspective. Are board game brands becoming bigger players when it comes to consumer products and fandom?

Definitely – and Asmodee is a focus for our tabletop gaming program. We work with Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and have previously worked with Warhammer 40k. Asmodee rounds out our program with heavy-hitting, fan-favourite games like Arkham Horror and CATAN.

Great stuff. Last question! How do you fuel your creativity? What helps the team have ideas?
Collaboration and open discussions is what fuels us. It is less like “work” and more “fun” when you get to work together with like-minded people over something you are all passionate about. Having fans of the properties is what is the most helpful part of the creative process.

Well, your love for the brand shines through. Thanks guys, let’s tie-in again soon.

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