Licensing2At its inception in the mid-’90s, The Licensing Company (TLC) wanted to deliver seamless brand extensions to companies around the world.  A way to achieve its goal was to implement a company philosophy where its team always looked at projects with the end in mind.

Executive Vice President Allison Kopcha explains that starting at the end is one of many key differentiators that have propelled TLC to its position of leadership in the licensing industry. “[Licensing] is not just about what brand we can put on an item,” she says. “It is about what consumers want in a product, and creating great products that will sell again and again.”

Knockout1The agency that packs a powerful punch, Knockout Licensing combines the skills of two well-regarded experts in licensing who have joined forces to cover the gamut from adult, teen and tween fashion brands to children’s classics and new media properties.

Formed in February 2012 by Carole Postal, president of CopCorp Licensing, and Tamra Knepfer, president of TK Brand Group, Knockout Licensing is a full-service licensing agency for which Postal and Knepfer function as co-presidents.

Hannas1When Burt Hanna started Hanna’s Candle Co. in 1987, he was a college student merely looking to make ends meet by selling potpourri he made in the basement of his home. Hanna’s hobby quickly turned into an entrepreneurial enterprise after he found some success selling the potpourri, prompting him to move the business out of the basement and into a factory. He also expanded beyond making potpourri into making practically every kind of scented product, ultimately finding a niche in the scented candle market.

Disney1What kinds of products come to mind first when you think of a program about ballroom dancing, a sleuth solving murders, a woman clearing her father’s name, the inner workings of Washington politics or a group of chefs dishing about the latest dish? If you said a coffee mug, you will not succeed in the Disney-ABC Television Group’s licensing efforts.

Crafting licensing opportunities for the idiosyncratic and sophisticated shows and series on ABC requires creative thinking and following the lead of the shows themselves. “You’ve got to understand what your audience looks for,” emphasizes Adam Sanderson, senior vice president for franchise management. “They’ll look for things they connect with – that they have a relationship with – and that’s what we use as a starting point.”

Designplus1For Design Plus, there’s more to successfully licensing a brand than simply placing a recognizable name on a product and going to market.

“We have always stayed close to the consumer and what the consumer wants, because at the end of the day, that’s who we serve,” says Meyer Janet, the president of the Atlanta-based licensing boutique, which he co-owns with his wife, Carol, Design Plus’ CEO. “We are successful because we’ve stayed relevant to consumers while maintaining relationships with brand owners.”

Comuto1“The world is becoming more global,” is not just an ironic phrase; it’s a truth that has changed consumer behavior. Apple isn’t exclusive to the United States and Toyota isn’t a Japanese secret. It might not seem like it on the news, but from country to country, people are becoming more alike than not – or at least when it comes to the products they buy. If a product is on-trend and set at a great value, it can appeal to customers in the Middle East just as much as it appeals to a New Yorker. That mindset is a guiding principle for international fashion guru Vince Camuto.

Bzb1The biggest challenge small entrepreneurs face when introducing new products to the market is acceptance, according to Barrie Stefel, president and founder of Shark Skinzz. “It’s never easy being a pioneer,” he notes. “You don’t have millions to spend on brand recognition and marketing.”

So, five years ago, when Stefel came up with a concept for portable, foldable containers that would be an alternative to rigid liquid containers, he knew he had to persevere and push to make the market take notice. Stefel also made sure he had a unique product. “When we started making our pouches, nobody was doing it,” he says. “We spent a lot of time on research of the materials, making sure they’re food-grade safe, ensuring all the components fit properly so the customer wouldn’t have any issues and adding four layers of film to the liner of the pouches. The fourth layer is a UV-blocking film that extends the life of the beverages.  Then we backed it all up with certification.”

Brand1In less than two years since its formation, The Brand Liaison has established itself as a premier provider of boutique licensing, brand extension and brand management services. “In a very short period, we’ve started to cast a very big shadow by assembling a strong collection of clients and reputable brands,” says founder and President Steven W. Heller.

A veteran of licensing and brand development with 20 years of licensing experience, Heller started the New York – Miami-based company with several “liaisons” who also have extensive experience in licensing projects. He notes that the team’s collective experience includes work with leading apparel brands such as Van Heusen and Gloria Vanderbilt, as well as work with Disney, the NFL, Converse and many other brands.

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