Board Game Entrepreneur Rachel Lowe Is In The Business Of Making Memories

Rachel Lowe’s entrepreneurial journey started while working as a taxi driver while at university in the early 2000s. She had an idea for a board game in which taxis were the playing pieces, and the city with various destinations earning the players fares. The idea eventually became the best selling Destination board game.

Lowe’s passion for board games can be traced back even further though – to a childhood playing board games with her family. She invented her first game when she was at school. “I believe it is still in my mum’s attic. I remember my teacher telling us a story about someone he knew who made a game and got it published,” she says.

Lowe has launched over 50 best-selling games and puzzles. “My first big deals in licensing were to create co-branded board games with big entertainment brands such as Warner Bros and Walt Disney,” she says. “In the four years since setting up my current company, I have forged partnerships with brands that target a broad demographic, including WWE, Elf on the Shelf, and Call the Midwife.”

“For film and TV franchises, I am usually approached directly by the licensor, brand owner, or agent,” she explains. “If I think the proposition is commercially viable, we agree on terms and the style guides are released to my creative team. We then go through a content creation process, including gameplay proposals and packaging designs, which the licensor must sign off.”

Her licensed products will already have a fan following. “We choose our licenses based on what’s currently trending;” she says. “More often than not, these products either have licensor supported marketing behind them or a strong social media following. This helps the sell-through process at the retailer’s end.”

Lowe says the company’s “speed to market is quick because we use local factories and have formed tight-knit relationships with licensors and designers. I am also the sole decision-maker in the business, which streamlines the whole process.”

While most entrepreneurs binge watch TV and movies to relax – it’s all part of the process for Lowe. But it’s not a chore – she “loves it”. 

Sometimes she has to outsource work for concepts that she is less familiar with or weren’t a part of her childhood though. WWE, for example, has over four decades of history. “If a superfan plays your game and you haven’t done your research, they’ll pick that up straight away. It’s important to acknowledge when someone is better at something than you – and surround yourself with them,” she says.

In 2009, Lowe was awarded an MBE for her services to business. She is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Portsmouth. “I can relate to students as I was one there myself, so I feel very much at home,” she says. She is even bringing them into her business: “We are working with a group of students on a Business Consultancy Project, which offers a hands-on role within my company. They research a brief and then present their recommendations” She thinks this is “much more valuable than learning from a textbook.”

“I recently received a letter from a boy in America who said he loves playing my games and that I inspire him,” she says. “This is what we do – we create memories. Reflecting on something that defined your childhood will always bring a smile to your face. It’s amazing to be part of that.”


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