Can you tell us how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?
A staple for multiple generations, the friendly muppets who reside on Sesame Street have been icons for decades, and have no plans of slowing down anytime soon. The Pop Insider spoke with Gabriela Arenas, VP of Global Licensing at Sesame Workshop, about Sesame’s legacy and upcoming plans.
The Pop Insider: Since Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary in 2019, Sesame Workshop hasn’t slowed down with its collabs. Can you tell us about some of the latest ones?
Gabriela Arenas: Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. That’s always our first filter when we consider the content we produce and the partners we engage with. We also consider how each opportunity can help shine a light on our social impact work. And we think about how our Muppets are uniquely qualified to help deliver an important message.
With that in mind, we introduced a new line of collabs with multigenerational appeal this fall and winter. With Under Armour Curry Brand, we launched a footwear collection that brings the spirit of Sesame Street’s iconic muppets to the basketball court. In addition, an exclusive Pottery Barn Kids collection features vintage-style art of favorite characters on bedding and pajamas. Sesame Street x Bombas is launching the sixth collection of co-branded socks – now including baby socks, for the first time in the multiyear partnership! (The partnership has allowed Bombas to donate more than 1.5 million pairs of socks to children and families in need nationwide.) We’re thrilled to team up with these fashion-forward brands as they reimagine our characters using their own aesthetics to create unique designs and comfortable products that families will love.
We’re also celebrating one of our newest furry friends — Elmo’s new puppy, Tango, who joins Sesame Street this season. Elmo and Tango help us teach safe, age-appropriate pet care — especially important with so many families bringing home new pets during the pandemic. It’s also a chance to remind children that friendships can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We have a robust licensing program to support this franchise campaign. Tango is featured in books from Penguin Random House, Studio Fun International, Lerner Publishing Group, Bendon, and Phoenix International Publications; apparel from Children’s Apparel Network, Trevco, SG Companies, and Zazzle; plush from GUND; bedding from NoJo; bandages from ASO; and even snacks – Tango is popping up on select varieties of General Mills’ Sesame Street cereal that have “Furry Friends Forever” mini-storybooks on the box, in addition to Organic Toddler Snacks from Earth’s Best. In a unique partnership with The Dodo, we also produced videos to help real adoptable pets find homes. This is only the beginning for Elmo and Tango — fans can look forward to seeing a lot more of this pup!
PI: The retail industry was severely impacted by the pandemic. Did that change how Sesame Workshop conducted its licensing business?
GA: The pandemic has changed the way consumers shop, accelerating e-commerce growth to new heights. With the direct-to-consumer (DTC) model taking center stage and shifting even more retail activity online, we’ve pivoted our licensing strategy to meet this new consumer demand. New DTC collaborations recently launched include Hanna Andersson organic cotton pajamas, Hedley & Bennett handcrafted aprons, Nugget play couches, Starface skincare products, Staple streetwear, and Yune Yoga yoga mats.
PI: Under Armour Curry Brand recently launched a new line featuring the Sesame Street characters. How did that partnership come about?
GA: We love the way the Curry Brand promotes healthy, active lifestyles, and teamwork. Partnering with Stephen was such a natural extension of the connection we already had. He’s a father to three kids under the age of 9. He made a guest appearance on the show alongside his wife, Ayesha, to teach children about the importance of sharing, and eating a healthy breakfast. And he celebrates communities and inspires young athletes. It’s been so much fun combining Curry Brand’s commitment to play and Under Armour’s innovation technology with Sesame Street’s iconic characters in this vibrant and playful collaboration.
PI: What other partnerships can we expect to see from Sesame Street in the near future?
GA: We’re continuing to expand our health and wellness categories. Maintaining healthy routines helps young children understand their world and feel secure — especially this year, when we’ve all experienced so much upheaval and disruption. Recently, we partnered with Headspace on a new project that uses mindfulness techniques to help little ones relax and regulate their emotions during daily routines. The Goodnight, World! podcast reimagines the sleepcast format to help kids prepare their minds and bodies for bed. A series of Sesame Street Monster Meditation books from Penguin Random House extends the partnership further, teaching families mindfulness techniques they can use at any time of day.
Fans can also look forward to more in cosmetics in 2022.
Other priorities include working with companies owned by a diverse community, as well as partnerships focused on sustainability and creating environment-friendly products that have a positive impact on the communities.
To learn more about Sesame Workshop and its parnterships, visit sesameworkshop.org!