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DECOSTA is a global brand management and licensing company based here in Toronto. Despite having its head offices here in Canada the company represents a ton of Hollywood stars such as Will Smith and Kevin James, as well as many musicians such as The Jacksons. They also represent the rights to deceased artists Tupac Shakur and Christopher (B.I.G.) Wallace.

I got a chance to ask a few questions of Jesse DeCosta about what it is he does and how he got into such an interesting career.


Photo: DECOSTA Marketing

How did you get into Brand Management and Licensing?

DECOSTA has been working in the Entertainment business for over 15 years, and our very first projects were to design and build websites for entertainers and their companies. Overtime, our company has become well known for managing entertainment brands online, and building trust with our clients. It was a natural progression to also manage our clients assets, and seek new revenue streams for the intellectual property that they already owned or controlled.


Photo: Jesse DeCosta

How does a company go on to acquire brands/licenses to people like Tupac or B.I.G.?

Acquiring brands for the purpose of licensing can either be done by offering to buy the rights to do so, or for the brand owner to seek out your company to fulfill their business needs. Our business is typically part of the latter, where we are chosen before we know there was an opportunity!

What have been the biggest changes you have seen over time in your industry?

The biggest change in our industry has definitely been the advancement and acceptance of social media and its impact on the entertainment industry. In the past, as recent as 3 years ago, we would have to build databases in order to market to fans – today, fans and even peripheral fans come to us making it easier to connect. We can focus on proving better, timely entertainment content and keep engaged with fans in realtime.


Photo: Jada Pinkett-Smith, Will Smith and Jesse DeCosta

What is the best part about your job?

The best part of my job is seeing fans go crazy when they meet one of our clients! It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do – when you meet your idol in the flesh, everyone turns into a kid again and it’s a great reminder that while the world maybe going through whatever it is, we all need entertainment and the escapism it provides.

What is the best part about doing business in Toronto?

The best part about doing business in Toronto is that it’s real. Unlike many other places we do business, the business culture in Toronto is based on ‘cautious optimism’ which means that everyone is asking the hard questions, and looking at business opportunities from all angles, not just the excitement factor surrounding a project.

Do you have any other T.O. businesses that you like?

There are too many to choose!

What is next for DECOSTA?

Our business is expanding into managing more legacy brands, and their licenses. As we have direct ability to create new content, we will develop new and exciting experiences for fans such as live events, ‘pop up’ concerts and much more! Currently, we are seeking opportunities to expand our business into Europe and Asia where the demand is great for our clients and their brands.


Photo: Kevin James & Jesse DeCosta


Photo: DeCosta (seated L) & members of The Jacksons – Jackie, Tito and Marlon (seated R)