Laura Sumner – Head of Group Licensing at Wonder – on bringing beloved brands into party products

“PEPPA PIG really does resonate with us all”: Wonder’s Laura Sumner on developing PEPPA PIG costumes, balloons and more.

Laura, it’s great to connect. We’re here to talk about your PEPPA PIG ranges. The brand celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Why do you think the show, its characters and the wider brand has resonated to such a degree with kids – and parents – over the years?
Firstly, happy birthday anniversary and congratulations to Peppa Pig and family on reaching such a milestone! I think the brand really resonates with children and parents due to its authenticity. Peppa is always reliable and genuine, and the stories are simple with clear lessons to learn, which are also relevant to the viewer. Through the licensed product portfolio, we also recognise key brand partners, which also endorses the PEPPA PIG world with parents. It adds a sense of security and trust in the brand.

“Peppa and George are great characters to create costumes around as they dress up in a variety of outfits.”

Not all hit kids’ TV shows replicate that success in the party space or in costumes. What do you feel the brand lends itself well to your categories?
Mainly the versatility. For costumes specifically, we can add symmetry to an adventure of PEPPA PIG from an episode, with Peppa taking on different scenarios. This then resonates with a child, fuelling their imaginations and role-play functions, which we all know are so important for child’s development. The PEPPA PIG brand plays such a significant role within this field and it’s important to us to build on this. Our party range is also fun and inspiring, with key characters featured and providing a fun environment to celebrate with Peppa and her friends.

Laura Sumner, Wonder, Hasbro, Peppa Pig

Design-wise, what makes PEPPA an exciting IP to create product for?
Peppa Pig really does resonate with us all, we always enjoy having an opportunity to work on a new range! With each episode playing out a different situation, every instalment is stimulating for children to watch. This is echoed in their style guides, which are always exciting and really versatile to work with… With vibrant colour palettes, cute iconography and fun patterns, it makes it effortless when applying to product. Be it party, balloons or dress up, you can always emulate fun with Peppa Pig and create products that children will love!

Laura Sumner, Wonder, Hasbro, Peppa Pig

On the costume front, how do you decide what themes and looks to pull from the show and take into your range?
We always make sure when designing that we try and bring as much fun and enjoyment to the fancy dress style as possible, so the wearer – in this case the young child – loves, enjoys and wants to wear it again and again! Peppa and George are great characters to create costumes around as they dress up in a variety of outfits. Clear winners for us have been Fairy, Ballerina and Witch themes… Halloween is a great way to combine Peppa with event-led costumes which are always bestsellers.

Laura Sumner, Wonder, Hasbro, Peppa Pig

We also try to focus on themes that have been important during episodes, for example, our PEPPA PIG occupational costumes; or we’ll look at key characters that resonate with children.

Laura Sumner, Wonder, Hasbro, Peppa Pig

Adding a bright fresh colour palette to the design and lots of key character assets really helps draw the customer in. Our bold hemline prints on skirts are really popular and give lots of life to the products – picturing Peppa’s friends having fun together is key. Partnering that with a character headpiece or headband ensures the child becomes Peppa too! In addition to this, we also have developed styles with George pig dressed as an Explorer, Pirate or Chef!

Laura Sumner, Wonder, Hasbro, Peppa Pig

Lovely! I want to talk about balloons for a moment! Do character shapes and attributes throw up interesting design challenges for the team? Like with your Air Walkers, for example?
In some respects, you can draw on similarities to designing dress up costumes or our party products. Designing foil balloons does have its challenges, but that’s just the design process! First, we decide on the pose that we’d like to work up into a foil balloon, which is normally an iconic stance that resonates with the target audience. We then work closely with our engineers to develop the best possible design.

Peppa took some defining as her shape is very specific and niche… This did result in some back and forth, but, after a few tweaks, we got the design just right for our customers!

Laura Sumner, Wonder, Hasbro, Peppa Pig

Laura, this has been fun. My last question is: What helps your design team have ideas? What fuels their creativity?
In terms of designing for PEPPA PIG, we always immerse ourselves in watching episodes, just to get in the Peppa mindset! Sometimes we have a look at other PEPPA products from different categories, just to see what they’re performing and how they’ve had application of prints or use of colour… Just to see if anything can inspire us and our designs, and also to see if there are any cross- category similarities we should take in to consideration for the design.

We also enjoy getting out and about to trade shows or exhibitions, receiving the latest trend report or seeing what trends are coming through on Instagram or TikTok as well as a whole host of other methods.

Thanks again Laura.

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