Pair will lead the Japanese entertainment production giant’s U.S. expansion, including its first E-Commerce platform outside of Tokyo, launching in 2023.
Toho International, a subsidiary of the Japanese entertainment giant that brought Godzilla to life, announced the appointment of Kristin Parcell as General Manager and Stacy Burt as Director of Marketing to lead their expansion in the U.S. The former Crunchyroll executives will focus on building a scalable e-commerce experience catered to fandom for Toho’s iconic “Godzilla” property and its line-up of popular anime franchises. The platform will launch in 2023. In addition, Parcell will lead licensing efforts for the company’s vertical markets such as physical and virtual merchandise, video games, and live events. With Parcell at the helm, Toho will collaborate with current partners on managing their own licensing rights across all of Toho’s anime IP.
Parcell spent 25 years working in merchandise, e-commerce, and licensing across multiple subculture and fandom-focused industries including music, skateboarding, gaming, and anime. Prior to her tenure as VP of eCommerce at Crunchyroll, she worked in licensing for Netflix, Sega of America, and Viz Media. She started her career in music at ARTISTdirect (under music entrepreneur and head of William Morris Endeavor Marc Geiger) working with acts such as Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, and Green Day. At Crunchyroll, Parcell led the team that built the company’s e-commerce platform. In less than 3 years, Parcell and her team built an e-commerce platform that drove tens of millions in annual revenue with a 65%+ annual growth rate. Parcell and her team also developed and marketed the breakout Crunchyroll Store brand, CR Loves, which featured exclusive apparel capsules with some of today’s biggest celebrities like Megan Thee Stallion and Lady Gaga, as well as fandom properties like Godzilla and hit anime IP like Jujutsu Kaisen.
Burt not only oversaw integrated marketing for Crunchyroll’s e-commerce and events, but also grew the global presence of the Crunchyroll Anime Awards, leading world-wide marketing campaigns and fan engagement. Prior to Crunchyroll, Burt worked in marketing at First Republic Bank.
Joanne Waage will also join Toho in an advisory role. Waage has expertise in anime and the Asian entertainment landscape having previously served as General Manager of Crunchyroll, leading it through exponential growth culminating in its sale to Sony for $1.2B, and CEO of top Asian streaming service, Rakuten Viki.
The new Toho ecommerce platform will feature both existing products and exclusives. Toho will launch the platform to help fill a gap between fan demand and what is available through current channels for the studio’s anime IP. While the e-commerce platform will initially focus on Toho-owned IP, the team plans to expand to outside IPs in the near future.
Hiro Matsuoka, President of Toho Co., Ltd, said, “Kristin and Stacy bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to building a successful e-commerce platform, but the key differentiator that makes them so successful is their deep understanding of fan communities and visionary thinking. They are constantly a step ahead of what is likely to delight fans and then they make it happen. With this team on board to lead Toho’s e-commerce effort, we are sure that we’ll be bringing to market an offering that is absolutely unmatched.”
“Stacy and I are incredibly passionate about this business, fandom, and community,” stated Parcell. “We are approaching this new challenge not only from a place of knowledge and experience, but also from a place of authenticity. Being big fans of these IPs ourselves and really understanding the fandom will enable us to tailor an e-commerce experience that will hopefully make fans of Toho’s IPs feel like we get them.”
Burt added, “As an anime fan, I’m thrilled to be part of this endeavor with Toho. I’m looking forward to building out an e-commerce platform in tandem with Kristin and the Toho team that provides fans with more of what they love straight from the source.”
Source: Toho International