FN PlatformThe latest trends include plaid patterns, and more casual shoes and heels with a twist. By Bianca Herron

Global leaders in footwear convened at FN Platform/WWDMAGIC Feb. 12-14 in Las Vegas to shape the industry, network and shop for shoes. The international showcase is the pillar of branded footwear featuring men’s, women’s, juniors’ and children’s brands from more than 30 countries. Offering six merchandised environments from luxury to lifestyle, FN Platform provided buyers with a convenient and efficient way to shop the most comprehensive selection of international footwear.

UBM President of Footwear Leslie Gallin says the premier footwear event had a “very good show.” “Buyers attending were focused and serious about buying,” Gallin notes. “They were looking for the next new trend. We found at the show that mules and causal shoes for women and men’s footwear are seeing a burst of energy.

“This new energy includes more casual shoes and heels with a twist, including unusual heel treatment, textures and construction,” Gallin continues. “In men’s, we are seeing a robust attention to the product category from both sides of the aisle. Men’s footwear today is about a more constructed upper-dressy more bespoke shoe with an active sole.”

She adds that consumers are telling the brands and retailers what they want. “This tells us the story behind the brand, and provides us with a reason to want to buy a particular brand or trend,” Gallin explains.

In addition, WWDMAGIC was a success as well, according to Kelly Helfman, vice president of WWDMAGIC. “The launch of our new beauty area GLAM was a hit,” she says. “Buyers found some affordable beauty brands to add to their store line up while also enjoying the cash-and-carry element. Attendees felt GLAM was a well-curated section that was easy to shop. Major beauty influencer and makeup artist Vlada Haggerty’s panel in our social house was super insightful and inspiring while really educating our retailers on the importance of adding beauty to their traditional store product offerings.”

At WWDMAGIC, some of the key trend takeaways included checks and plaids. “We saw a ton of these prints, whether it was on a blazer, skirt, handbag or sunglasses,” Helfman explains. “At the next show, I think pastels will be bigger than ever – lavender and millennial pink especially.”  

The next FN Platform/WWDMAGIC show will be held Aug. 13-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. Gallin expects both shows to have busy aisles and happy customers. “Nothing feels better than when you know you are a surrogate providing a prosperous environment where people are growing their businesses,” she concludes.

Licensing 1Social media influencers are carving out their own lane in the licensing industry. By Bianca Herron

The use of licensing as a marketing and brand extension tool has increased rapidly over the last 30 years. This includes new media over the past decade, which has sent shock waves through traditional media, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

According to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), licensed merchandise sales grew more than 4 percent last year to $262.9 billion. Licensable properties come from a variety of sources, including fashion, sports, music, celebrity, corporate/brand, and entertainment and characters, which is the largest segment of licensing.

Entertainment and character licensing, which includes primarily films, television shows, videogames and online entertainment, accounted for 45 percent of licensing sales, or $ 118 million, in 2016, according to LIMA.

Feeling Success

What makes all licensing successful, however, is the brand’s ability to tap into consumers’ emotions, says LIMA’s Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and Information Marty Brochstein. “Licensing is only effective if it plays upon an emotion that’s generated in a target audience,” he explains. “For example, it might be a really cool celebrity, a favorite sports team, trusted brand, or a cute character.”

This is why nontraditional licensing brands stemming from new media, especially today’s social media influencers – a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry, has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach – are “products of their time,” Brochstein notes. “Ten years ago we didn’t know what a social media influencer was, an app, or a streaming service,” Brochstein explains. “It’s logical that an increasing number of properties are coming from places we consider to be non-traditional. In 20 years, something coming from a streaming service or a social media influencer will be considered old school.”

He cites YouTube sensation Jake Paul as an example. Paul rose to significant fame on the now-defunct video application Vine. He began posting videos in 2013 on the platform and by the time Vine was shut down, Paul had 5.3 million followers and 2 billion video plays. He was later cast on the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark. “Paul has turned himself into a brand by doing wacky things in his daily video blog on Vine and then Youtube,” Brochstein says. “So these quote unquote unconventional sources for licenses are unconventional for the moment, until they become mainstream.”

Pug Love

You don’t get more than a billion YouTube views and over 9 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter without having something special. And that’s exactly what Doug the Pug has, as the small canine has charmed his way into the hearts of people worldwide.

Doug’s owner, Leslie Mosier, saw this when she adopted him as an eight-week-old puppy. “Not only does Doug have a large dedicated following, but he is an adorable pug,” Mosier says. “Pugs are an incredibly popular breed across the world that continue to gain attention and popularity. Making products that not only showcase Doug’s cute face, but also his relatable and funny brand, makes for a very merchandisable figure.”

Remarkable Brands Inc. is the worldwide licensing company for Doug the Pug. Founder Stacey Reiner notes that when the New York City-based company first began presenting Doug the Pug, the world of social media influencers were just starting to come to the forefront. “It took time for people to understand the power of Doug,” Reiner recalls. “However, once they heard Doug the Pug has over 11 million social media fans, over 1 billion Facebook video views, a best-selling New York Times book, a list of celebrity friends and continuous shares and likes across his social media channels, companies began to see Doug the Pug as a brand, not just an adorable dog.”

Remarkable Brands was able to commercialize Doug the Pug via licensing because of his “extremely loyal” fans. “We always wanted to ensure that the merchandise certainly captured Doug’s fun-loving personality,” Reiner explains. “Therefore, we look to develop partnerships with best-in-class licensee’s as well as retailers that capture his likeness, his impressive wardrobe and his love of food. We currently have a host of Doug The Pug items that can be found across several retailer accounts.”  

Mosier notes that nontraditional licensing, especially in regards to social media influencers, has become a hit in today’s society because celebrities “are made on the Internet.” “The Internet is the newest and most effective form of advertising, and influencers are able to reach millions of people with the click of a button,” she says. “While an influencer can certainly have their own merchandise line of T-shirt’s on a web store, to be able to direct their fans to a brick-and-mortar store is not only effective, but more beneficial for the licensor since you are now reaching both your typical foot traffic and the entire internet.”

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Walmart and BuzzFeed Debut First-Ever Line of Tasty Cookware

Available Now Exclusively at Walmart

All-New Line of More Than 90 Products Highlights Strategic Partnership

Spanning Product Development, E-Commerce, Media and more

New York, NY -  March 1, 2018 — Walmart and BuzzFeed’s Tasty today unveiled an exclusive new line of kitchen products that will bring the fun, ease and accessibility of Tasty’s signature recipe videos to Walmart and consumers nationwide. The Tasty-branded cookware line includes more than 90 products ranging from non-stick cookware to high-quality bakeware to kitchen gadgets, accessories and more, ranging in price from $4.44 to $99.00. Tasty cookware is available now at Walmart and Walmart.com.

UDS Press Release Art

STX Entertainment Names Hasbro Master Toy Licensee For UglyDolls Franchise 


BURBANK, Calif., Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- STX Entertainment, a global next-generation media company that develops, finances, produces, markets and distributes film, television, VR, digital video, music and live entertainment content, and Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS), a global play and entertainment company, announced today that Hasbro has been named the master global toy licensee for the UglyDolls franchise. The agreement combines STX's content creation, marketing and distribution expertise across all platforms with Hasbro's commitment to creating engaging play experiences and entertainment.

joyaJoya Studio’s unique space hosts tours, events, workshops and interactive art installations.

Fragrance design studio, Joya, and Taylor and Miller Architecture/Light joined forces to create a radically conceived retail experience meant to hover between the context of consumption and production. These two environments in today’s society have been too often ripped apart for the sake of protecting the sanctity of the antiseptic and heavily branded retail store.

Located in Brooklyn, N.Y., Joya Studio offers innovating perfumes, personal care and home ambiance under its own label, as well as engaging emerging and established artists and brands for unique, collaborative projects. In addition to creating a concept shop to display this collection, there was also a desire to create a space for workshops, classes with visiting perfumers and art installations.

Taylor and Miller’s lead designers B. Alex Miller and Jeff Taylor, along with Aoife O’Leary, sought to create a retail environment for Joya that is literally and figuratively suspended between the formality, cleanliness, and elegance of a retail space, and the informality and grit of a highly active factory. The space is comprised of a series of large floating steel and wood veneer surfaces suspended by steel rods from the factory ceiling. None of the steel surfaces touch each other.

While steel surfaces define the retail space, the factory space in which they are suspended permeates the retail experience. The retail sides of the floating steel surfaces and their associated display niches are wrapped in an oak wood veneer. Meanwhile, the factory side of the surfaces is left entirely bare, as are all of the structural angles, associated tack welds and electrical conduit. The visitor experience of the consumption and production spaces is separated intentionally by the thinnest of architectural elements; a single sheet of veneer and a single sheet of steel.

Acclaim Highlights

As a multi-disciplinary firm, Taylor and Miller also work in the realm of lighting design, making lighting a key component of this project. Taylor and Miller carefully accented the display niches with Flex Pro Interior, (2700k) a high output, low voltage, and thin and flexible LED circuit strip from Los Angeles-based Acclaim Lighting. Flex Pro Interior was developed for custom interior architectural lighting schemes based on its ability to be cut to an exact length within two inches for custom applications. For Joya Studio, Flex Pro creates a soft subtle glow on the products in the display niches and highlights the warm tones of the wood.

The flexible LED strip provides ample lighting by producing 600 lumens per foot and only consumes 5.5 watts per linear foot. Specifying the Flex Pro Interior also gave Taylor and Miller the flexibility of setting the atmosphere by selecting from various color temperatures such as 2400K, 2700K, 3000K, 3500K and 4000K. It also features a wide 120-degree beam angle and maintains 70 percent of its lumens at 50,000 hours.

With the successful integration of the two environments, this unique space hosts tours, events, workshops and interactive art installations. Joya Studio is also a Brooklyn Building Award winner, an honoree in the 2016 Interior Design Best of the Year and NYCxDesign Awards and received an honorable mention from the American Architecture Prize.

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