Published: January 28, 2022 | Updated: February 7, 2022

King of Cool: Roy lands top job as global brand and licensing director for Charlie’s Ark Group

Roy Smoothe, Global Brand & Licensing Director, Charlie’s Ark Group (right) with Mike Payne, CEO, Founder, and Creator of Charlie’s Ark.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

He’s the epitomy of ‘cool’ and known around the world for his distinctive style and branding.

And now Dorset’s very own ‘Mr Cool’ has landed himself one very cool job.

Roy Smoothe has been appointed to the newly created Board position of Global Brand & Licensing Director with Charlie’s Ark Group.

The group was formed to develop, grow, and monetise the intellectual property of the Charlie’s Ark stories – written by Mike Payne – and the book’s animal characters.

Arthur Maxfield, Co-founder of World of Books, is the group’s Chairman and also an investor.

His former company was launched in 2008 and is on track for sales of £100m this year after being acquired by venture capitalists.

Roy will drive the development of the product, merchandise, music, TV, and film divisions with the target of global representation.

He’ll steer the development of Charlie’s Ark’s characters into new product categories while also strategically extending and catapulting Charlie’s Ark Group’s footprint around the world.

Roy brings more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the retail, creative, design, fashion, and music licensing industries.

He specialises in working with high profile clients, celebrities and global brands; driving revenue and engagement across retail channels, digital platforms, and consumer experiences.

Roy said: “It is such a cool opportunity to be a key team member of the Charlie’s Ark Group Board working to drive the growth of the brand.

“Charlie’s Ark Group has the potential to lead the way in new and innovative licensed brand extensions for several widely recognised international brands

“I am looking forward to working with the team on significantly establishing it in the licensing space both here in the UK, and globally.

“We have an amazing mission of inspiring and nurturing the childlike spirit – one story, one chapter, one book at a time.

“To entertain, inform and inspire children around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, using creative imagery, innovative marketing technologies and strategies that make ours a premier brand IP development and publishing company.”

Mike Payne, CEO, Founder, and Creator of Charlie’s Ark, said: “Roy joining forces with Charlie’s Ark Group is the perfect next step for the brand.

“I am excited to be working with such a highly experienced team to help me reach new audiences and explore new product categories in a way that maintains the integrity of my brand and its objective of making the world a more beautiful place.

Roy will continue to build upon Charlie’s Ark’s growing fanbase and, as Charlie’s Ark Group continues to expand its merchandise offering, he will oversee upcoming client licensing initiatives nationally and globally.”

Mike, an award-winning international cartoonist and illustrator, is the creator and original artist of Tatty Teddy.

He drew the charcoal bear with the blue nose under the pen name of ‘Miranda’ for 17 years.

Mike is also the creator of highly successful cartoon characters and licensed merchandise.

It’s estimated that greetings cards featuring his creations have sold in the hundreds of millions worldwide, winning numerous awards in the USA, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

Mike, pictured, won the equivalent of an Oscar, called a ‘Henry’, for his artwork and has travelled the world attending many signings. He was also a cartoonist for Sky News.

He created Charlie’s Ark in June 2004, after waking up at 3.30am with a poem going round and round his head about a five-year-old boy named Charlie and his ark-shaped toy box full of animals.

Mike got up, went straight to his art studio, and started writing and drawing, and the book and the audio CDs – which Mike narrated – were born.

The stories are in rhyme, and each unique tale aims to encourage children to be who they want to be, to teach morals and to entertain.

According to Charlie’s Ark Group: “They are a throwback to traditional values and there is a warmth and truth in all the stories which will resonate with everyone.

“They remind adults of a time when they themselves were children.

“Some are inspired by past life lessons, others are brand new and based squarely in reality, so there is something for every child out there.”

Roy, a renowned branding strategist is also a multiple Amazon Music #1 best selling producer, and publisher with over 150 million streams across multiple online platforms.

Based in Bournemouth and working from his beach pod where he’s often seen on his balcony, pictured, and also on the beach, he uses his Smoothe Mixx and brand messaging to inspire individuals and organisations around the world.