In 1986 27 year-old Claire Derry had two choices: either become redundant from her beloved job at the licensing arm of United Newspapers, or buy out the subsidiary. She used £50k from venture capital company Guinness Mahon Development Capital, who wanted to protect its investment in the subsidiary, and branched out on her own. The London-based company’s big break came in 1990 when it won the licensing rights to Barbie, which had enjoyed little success in the UK. Using her retail expertise, Derry snatched the license away from the four agencies that owned it. Since the switch, Barbie has become the number one girl’s property in the UK, says Derry. The £4.2m company is also peddling a teddy bear line it hopes will give the Telly Tubbies a run for their money. Link is also starting to produce children’s television shows, including one running on the BBC immediately following the Queen’s Christmas message.
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