A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse! — or a bar of soap, anyway...
Yes, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, the UK's export authority has pointed out that toiletries and home furnishings branded with the Bard’s name have a "huge opportunity for global promotion".
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is getting help from UK Trade and Investment to find global markets for its new line of Shakespeare Inspired bath crèmes, body lotions, and boxed gift sets launched in late March.
“At the moment we’ve got some new licences,” said Sue Croxford, head of retail at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, citing the launch today in their Stratford-upon-Avon gift shop of a line of £2 commemorative coins from the Royal Mint.
The Trust also has a new licence with Royal Crown Derby for fine China paperweights, and Croxford said it was in negotiations with an American agency and another in South Korea to licence its brand.
“Shakespeare is worldwide,” said Croxford, adding the 400th anniversary is an opportunity to leverage the brand and push forward the Trust’s long-term licencing programme.
UKTI has been helping to promote it and gave the Trust an opportunity to appeal to European buyers at the Paris Museum Expressions trade fair in April with a space at its stand.
Still “it’s early days our licencing programme,” said Croxford, who said the buying bonanza got started in 2014 with a line of luxury pens made by Italy’s Omas.
“Initial reaction to the products has, as you would expect, been very favourable,” said Parminder Hayer, of UKTI West Midlands, “and we are only too pleased to work with the Trust to help it maximise its export potential.”
Over the past 400 years the plays of Shakespeare have been translated into some 80 languages.
A rose-scented hand cream by any other name: The Bard-branded products that could make waves abroad
Romeo & Juliet Hand Care Duo
A blend of rose garden and bergamot hand lotion and hand wash, for saints whose hands pilgrims' hands do touch.
Duck-shaped Shakespeare Lip Balm
A duck dressed as the bard in form of lip balm. What's not to love?
Shakespeare's First Folio tote bag
A sturdy bag for those who like to carry around their £2.5m 1623 volume.
Insult Quotation Tea Towel
When something goes wrong in the kitchen, you'll always have the right phrase close to hand.
Shakespeare Gingerbread Face
Don't just read Shakespeare, eat him.
Shakespeare's Birthplace Clotted Cream Fudge
For those looking to gear up for their role as Falstaff.