[Interview conducted prior to the Invictus Games]

“Been there, bought the t-shirt” is a phrase that’s music to any event merchandiser’s ears. With the Invictus Games already creating a merchandising frenzy in the capital and the Rugby World Cup coming to the UK in September 2015, the man behind the merch at both events talks to Access.

Jeremy Goldsmith is managing director at Event!Merchandising and a relation of event promotion legend Harvey Goldsmith. His company provides bespoke merchandise and retail experiences at events and was an official licensee and event retailer for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Event!Merchandising is also official manufacturer and retailer for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Committee casa Brazil Boutique.

More recently, Event!Merchandising provided exclusive merchandising for the Invictus Games (10-14 September), supported by Jaguar Land Rover, developing the full ‘I AM’ product range, which was launched by Prince Harry in March.

How does the UK’s appetite for Invictus merchandising compare to the USA?

The NFL is huge for merchandising, but in the UK we’re certainly not reserved in terms of our enthusiasm for merchandising. We’re definitely embracing Invictus wholeheartedly, and the event has benefitted massively from being championed by Prince Harry, who has been an amazing ambassador and has worn the I AM kit regularly, which is great for us.

How is the Rugby World Cup 2015 set to compare to your previous projects?

The event is certainly up there in terms of scale, and there are many similarities with London 2012 in terms of its logistics. However, in some ways it is more challenging because the spread of the event is wider, and more regional so there are geographically more points for us to cover. We are, at this stage, not aware of the complete product range we will be providing, but certainly the supporter product bags, hands and other accessories with clothing are the predominant focus. The event will be a massive boost to our turnover. 

What made you choose merchandising as a career?

My family had a background in both music and sporting events, and I was drawn to the variety and challenges of merchandising. My week
can take me anywhere from Donnington to Beijing for Formula E, to On Blackheath festival in London. 

The merchandising industry requires a lot of exciting collaboration and getting your supply chain in order is vital. It’s a job that can involve working with anyone from the BBC to SMETA, an organisation designed to promote ethical trading.

What are your career highlights?

Definitely the London 2012 Olympic Games is up there and we were building up to it from the bidding stages. A highlight of the Games was deciding to pitch a pop-up stand in Trafalgar Square prior to the event. It was something of a tester for the popularity of the merchandise, but luckily it was absolutely swamped with visitors and we had to work hard to keep it stocked with kit and even called the police as a precaution.

Elsewhere, the Led Zeppelin reunion gig at The O2 was something special and Live Earth was on an impressive scale. I’m a bit of a fan of wrestling too, and it’s a fun spectacle that brings a great atmosphere when it comes to town. The fans are very enthusiastic and the merchandising plays a big role in expressing this. 

What’s next for Event!Merchandising?

We have a really interesting contract producing merchandising for the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta, which was signed in Runnymede in 1215. I’ve been learning a lot about the history of the document and it’s massive importance culturally. 

There’s lots of enthusiasm globally for the document and a rare copy sold for US$21m in New York recently. We’ll be providing a host of merchandise including cuff links and stamps.

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