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Home | RaugustOnLicensing


Karen Raugust is Special Projects Editor of The Licensing Letter and author of The Licensing Business Handbook as well as numerous reports including International Licensing: A Status Report. RaugustOnLicensing will feature Karen's unique perspective on trends and news about licensing and merchandising.

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014
Fashion Flair for Digital Devices
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 10:39
For fashion and footwear labels, electronics represent a relatively new and growing area of interest. The category offers not only an additional source of incremental revenue but also the opportunity for a label to extend to a group of products so ubiquitous in daily life that they have become fashion accessories in themselves.

Key categories include:

• Headphones. Rebecca Minkoff designed interchangeable headphone caps for Frends, Adidas Originals licensed Monster for a line of high-performance headphones, and Alexander Wang created a limited-edition collection of custom headphones and earbuds for Beats by Dr. Dre.

• Fitness-monitoring devices. Tory Burch created a line of pendants, bracelets, and wristbands for the Fitbit Flex device, under the Tory Burch for Fitbit banner; Skechers worked with Sports Beat USA on a Skechers GOwalk activity tracker and sleep monitor.

• Mobile device accessories. HillBilly Brand licensed U.S. Digital Media for phone and tablet cases, mobile chargers, and related products; Vans partnered with Belkin for electronics cases; and the designers at the Kenzo label created a clutch/cover for Google's Nexus 7 tablet.

These alliances also have distribution benefits. They hold the potential to bring the fashion and footwear labels into electronics stores where they have not been before, and the electronics brands into fashion boutiques and department stores.

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Monday, Apr 14, 2014
Augmenting Reality Across the Product Spectrum
By Karen Raugust
Monday, Apr 14, 2014 06:16
Much of the attention surrounding the use of augmented-reality technology in the licensing business centers on the toy industry, where AR has, over the past three years or so, become almost a prerequisite for physical toys, at least in certain categories.

But the technology has also made inroads into other product sectors, such as:

• Home goods. Northwest launched a range of licensed throws and huggers, available at Toys R Us for last year's holiday season, with AR technology that allows a Mickey Mouse throw to become an interactive puzzle and a Batman blanket to morph into a 3D version of Gotham City.

• Books. Pedigree in the U.K. offers licensed annuals tied to Angry Birds, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Beano, Annoying Orange, and others, in which AR unlocks embedded content--such as coloring sheets, activities, stories, and character profiles--in 20% of the pages.

• Apparel. Poetic Gem sells Family Guy t-shirts in which the character images move when viewed through a tablet or smartphone, with the animations then able to be shared on social media.

• Food. Nestlé's Haagen Dazs Ice Cream, licensed from General Mills, introduced an AR Concerto Timer in which the user, through a phone or tablet, can view a two-minute rendition of a violinist playing a Bach piece on top of the container (joined by a cellist if a second carton is unlocked). Two minutes is the amount of time it takes for ice cream to achieve the perfect temperature for eating after being removed from the freezer, according to Nestlé.

In all these cases, AR content is unlocked through a free app, typically provided by a technology partner such as Boostar, Popar, Jam3, Mercury Active, Zappar, Vuforia, or others.

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Thursday, Apr 10, 2014
Home Fashions
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 10:15
The home goods arena can be a difficult one for fashion designers. There are certainly successful examples, especially among the top labels (e.g. Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren) and in certain retailers (e.g., Bed Bath and Beyond or Kohl's). But low margins and a spotty track record for many such ventures are among the challenges that can make success in this category difficult for designers and fashion brands.

That hasn't stopped fashion-industry names from taking a chance on the category, however.

Since the beginning of the year, for example, two labels have forged retail-exclusive deals. Lela Rose launched a luxury tabletop collaboration including napkins, placemats, and dessert plates with Neiman Marcus, marking her first entry into the home goods arena. And Steven Alan announced a deal with West Elm for a home collection covering bedding, rugs, furniture, and accessories such as vases under the Steven Alan Stripes for West Elm brand, also representing his inaugural collection in home goods.

Others are following the traditional manufacturer path into the home. Fashion-industry celebrity and reality star Tim Gunn is debuting a home textile collection featuring bed and bath, window dressings, and pet beds with Bentex division Indecor at retail this spring. And Bob Mackie is introducing a rug collection with KAS Rugs this month.

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Monday, Apr 07, 2014
Trash Talking
By Karen Raugust
Monday, Apr 07, 2014 12:25
The adage that "one person's trash is another's treasure" rings true for several licensors overseeing eco-friendly ventures in which licensed products are made from recycled refuse:

• Pharrell Williams launched a textile company, in partnership with Parley for the Oceans, called Bionic Yarn, which turns plastic trash found in the ocean into fabric. The singer-producer's fashion collaborations with G-Star and, more recently, Adidas both are using Bionic Yarn in their production.

• Reality star Lauren Conrad debuted her XO(eco) brand for products manufactured using REPREVE fabric, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Her first partner is Blue Avocado for travel and cosmetic storage accessories. They are sold at Kohl's, where Conrad's LC Lauren Conrad apparel line is exclusive, as well as other retailers.

• Will.i.am and Coca-Cola created Ekocycle to spur the creation of goods made in part from recycled material such as plastic bottles and cans, licensing the brand to companies that do so. Partners, many for limited editions or capsule collections, include H. Brothers (men's suits and accessories), Levi's (jeans), Beats by Dr. Dre (headphones), Case-Mate (smartphone cases), and New Era (caps).

• TerraCycle has alliances with consumer goods brands, which encourage their customers to send used packaging from their products to TerraCycle. The latter then designs new items incorporating the waste and partners with manufacturers to produce those products. In some cases the corporate brands from the original trash are visible on the final merchandise--as with Capri-Sun totes or Cheet-ohs scrapbooks--and some of the deals with manufacturers are structured as licensing agreements.

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Thursday, Apr 03, 2014
An Extensive Shoe Collection
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 11:07
The fashion landscape has been teeming with collaborations featuring properties from outside the world of design. The trend has been most notable in apparel, but footwear labels have also been active participants.

A handful of companies announcing collaborations recently, covering a variety of property types and shoe styles, include:

• Vans, with the preschool TV show Yo Gabba Gabba and the non-profit ASPCA.

• Keds, with country star Taylor Swift.

• Steve Madden, with R&B singer Keyshia Cole and reality celebs Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

• Stuart Weitzman, with Harper's Bazaar.

• Minnetonka Moccasin, with Hello Kitty.

• Nine West, with InStyle magazine.

And of course, more "traditional" collaborations between footwear brands and apparel labels--such as Ruthie Davis' partnership with menswear designer John Bartlett for a collection of "cruelty-free" shoes last year--continue as always.

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Welcome to Raugust On Licensing
by Karen Raugust
June 13, 2011 Every day, we're bombarded with the latest news on licensing from a variety of publications and other sources. It's easy to find out what's happening almost at the moment it happ . . . more >
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