StrategyFebruary 1, 2023

How business leaders can think beyond revenue to achieve holistic licensing success

5 min read
How business leaders can think beyond revenue to achieve holistic licensing success

The Rebel Girls media engine kicked children's publishing into high gear. Making a splash as the most quickly funded children’s titles in Kickstarter history (raising over $675,614 with an original goal of $40,000), to date the publisher’s debut title has sold more than 1 million copies, launched a number of successful spin-offs and has been translated into more than 47 languages, introducing diverse and powerful female heroes to a new generation of readers.

Recently, the company extended its brand with licensed merchandise including clothing, stationery, tote bags, notebooks and more. To take the stories of rebellious historical women off of the page and into the hands of fans, Rebel Girls sought out a comprehensive business management system that offered holistic data analysis, modern communication tools, and a new approach to leading a data-driven business.
In 2018, they turned to Flowhaven.

In the time since, the company has become a premier client, with successful extensions around the globe. This week, we sat down with Michon Vanderpoel, Director, Licensing & Partnerships, Rebel Girls to discuss the key factors that led the company to partner with Flowhaven and how our service is helping her team support their operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

1.Eliminating spreadsheets and useless documents

The Rebel Girls team was used to working with excel sheets and antiquated document filing systems to manage their day to day operations. As a publishing company with a roster of inspirational messaging, captivating visuals and historical figures to reference, they needed an efficient system that would allow them to organize their assets and assess in real-time the health of their programs to make informed decisions about the future.

“In the past, we used a licensing management tool that was clunky and unable to report at the granularity that we needed,” adds Vanderpoel. “We were forced to manually enter data into spreadsheets to compute and draw conclusions, which ate up a lot of time and was never wholly accurate.”

Tapping into Flowhaven’s project management tools and comprehensive dashboards, the team was able to aggregate data across all business touchpoints— licensee relationships, time from contract to product-on-shelf, assets usage, book sales, and more.

Today, the company is able to see how each deal is progressing — and how it all enriches the Rebel Girls’ brand. For example, if the company is planning to launch a new book series, Rebel Girls can share projections and archival data with their partners to plan for future product extensions and distribution.

This data can inform future books, too. Access to a dashboard overview, helps the team track current campaigns and adds insights using artificial intelligence (AI) with details on high-performing titles. These particular features have been especially useful for the team as they steer their business through these uncertain market conditions. They now have the ability to generate projections and look for new opportunities to connect with customers at home.

2. Streamlining Internal Communications‍

As a publishing powerhouse, Rebel Girls knows that effective communication is key to the success of their brand. The company employs small teams in several cities across the globe. To maintain effective and efficient communication across all teams with ease, the company needed a system that allowed them to share their ideas, align on and track partner comms, flag issues, and more - all in one place. The team points to the ability to exchange notes, schedule email notifications, access new product designs and more in just a few clicks as key factors in their decision to implement the Flowhaven system.

“One of the largest reasons we decided to move forward with Flowhaven and will continue to use Flowhaven is the solution’s capability and flexibility. When approaching workflow needs we always go to the platform first, which has streamlined many of our processes—from sending out pitch emails to closing money to approving sample submissions. We have been able to tailor the solution to fit our needs, rather than changing the way we work to fit with the solution,” remarks Vanderpoel.

Under the COVID-19 restrictions, the team has used Flowhaven’s communication tools to maintain effective communications with impacted licensors, book retailers and internal team members.


In light of the COVID-19 crisis, Rebel Girls has launched a number of initiatives to improve the lives of individuals staying at home under the banner #RebelGirlsAtHome. In addition to reducing the prices on their core products, Rebel Girls has offered free downloads of the activities contained in their chapter book series; sent a special Teacher’s Guide out to book stores to include in their newsletters and offerings and; provided the Teacher’s Guide to local partners to translate and make available to instructors around the world. The brand also continues to produce a podcast series that readers can engage with at home.

Discover how Flowhaven can help you transform your operations by booking a demo today.

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