Plymouth branding company Mandarin acquired by US licensing giant

A US firm described as the “future of licensing’ and which works with some of the world’s most famous companies has acquired Plymouth branding and clothing company Mandarin International Brands.

American e-commerce giant Trevco said is predicting “European domination” after Taking over the Estover-based company. Trevco, which styles itself a US market leader in e-commerce, said the deal means it will break into the European e-commerce market..

The Michigan and Utah headquartered business is a licensing mammoth dominating the e-commerce market in the USA through technology-driven innovation. It has more than 1,000 licensing partners in sectors such as culture, entertainment, music, education, sports and esports.

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Licensing partners include Disney, Showtime, 20 th Century Fox, Marvel, the US Army, Honda, Atari, Loony Tunes, Nickelodeon, NASA, CBS, NBC and entertainment household names including Jurassic World, Aliens, Star Trek, Batman, Star Wars, and rock acts Def Leppard and Kiss.

It also creates and power prints on demand brand stores on Amazon, Walmart, and owned and operated sites for hundreds of brands. It has an in-house digital agency called Blue Wheel Media, which employs more than 40 people and has enabled Trevco to become “an e-commerce powerhouse in the licensing industry”.

It was named by the Inc 5000 guide to America’s top companies as the nation’s fastest growing and is on an expansion mission.

Mandarin International Brands Ltd comprises three trading companies: Frontline Image Ltd, Mandarin Creative Ltd and Mandarin Licensing Ltd. Incorporated in 2007, the group has more than 20 years experience in design, garment manufacture, brand development and licensing.

Frontline Image Ltd specialises in production and supply of garments across multiple market sectors, while Mandarin Creative is a specialist in design and brand development for more than 40 brands in the street, surf, and music inspired lifestyle markets aimed at children and adults.

Mandarin Licensing develops licensing programmes for lifestyle and fashion brands and advises brand owners, retailers and manufacturers.

Customers include Nike, Vispring, FIFA, Team GB, the Eden Project, ASOS, Marston’s and Fuller’s, while brand partners also include Guinness, Universal, Pepsi, Ford, BSA and bthe bands Pink Floyd and AC/DC.

A Trevco spokesman said UK business had been hit by drastic changes brought by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, with every cross-border movement now being charged an additional 12% duty on selling prices.

He said: “The clothing industry has been one of the worst affected as more businesses continue to go bust, losing thousands of jobs as well as trading opportunities between countries.

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“This new partnership between the US and the UK is set to create hundreds of job vacancies, primarily in the South West and at Trevco HQ in Plymouth as Trevco expands into Trevco Europe.”

Trevco founder Trevor George and his board of directors are flying to Plymouth to meet Mandarin chiefs and staff at its HQ at Sisna Park, Estover Road, on November 15 and 16.

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William TelfordBusiness Editor, Plymouth Live