The Toy Book received the sad news that Kelvyn Gardner, founder of UK-based licensing consultancy firm Asgard Media, passed away this morning of a sudden heart attack. Gardner was a frequent contributor to the Licensing Book, former sister publication of the Toy Book, during his 10-year tenure as managing director of Licensing International UK. Quick-witted, kind-hearted, and always a pleasure to work with, Gardner was a fountain of knowledge and provided an inside look at the licensing industry from his side of the pond.
Four days ago, Gardner celebrated his 66th birthday, and shared his gratitude on LinkedIn: “Today is my 66th birthday, and a big thank you to everyone who has been so kind as to send me greetings. Celebrations will be muted, of course, but maybe all the better to allow a bit of quiet reflection. How fortunate am I, and everyone else reaching my age around now, that healthcare, nutrition, and the working environment since the 1950s has allowed us a full and active life in our seventh decade … Like many of my generation, I was the first in my family to go to University, the first to start a business of my own, things that brought me entry into the comfortable ‘middle classes.’ But, even today this is not the life for everyone in the UK. I remind myself, I give thanks, and I try to do my bit to help others take a step along the road I’ve trod.”
Gardner’s career in licensing dates back to 1979, when he began marketing Disney products for an Italian publishing company. In 1989, Gardner and three colleagues founded Merlin Publishing, where he sought and obtained key licenses that helped drive the company’s success. Since then, Gardner successfully marketed hundreds of licensed products all over the world.
Survived by his wife Michelle and children Regan and Eliot, Gardner was loved by many and will be sorely missed. The Toy Book extends deepest condolences to all who knew him.