New York City is the de facto capital of the world, and millions come from around the globe to take in its sights. As one of the world’s premier tourist destinations and the setting for countless movies, TV shows and books, nearly every aspect of the city has been enshrined as an icon, and that includes the city’s public transportation system, operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

The buses, trains, bridges and tunnels operated by MTA are just as iconic and well-known as New York City landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, so it’s not surprising that residents and visitors alike would want to have a little piece of those in their own homes. As director of marketing and communications for the MTA, Mark Heavey’s job is to ensure that the image of the authority is protected no matter where or how its iconography is used. 

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As a global leader in the development of brand, character and entertainment footwear and apparel, Leomil Group sees a wealth of opportunities for the future by partnering with the right licensors. “The future of licensing is about having the right partners,” CEO Albert Milhado says. “Look at the success of Frozen; every girl fights for that pair of shoes or that dress. Every day there are new opportunities and the world of licensing is a great opportunity for the future.”

Milhado founded the Leomil Group and merged with the Oudenaarde, Belgium-based Cortina Group in 2007. Milhado will put his succession plans in motion this year. The change in leadership will be announced at the Licensing Expo 2015. “I will still be available when they need me, but my children are taking over all the main positions,” Milhado says. 

Read more: Cortina/Leomil Group

King’s Hawaiian never disappoints with its bread products that are consistently baked to perfection. The bread is always soft and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness. “Nothing else comes close to our product and our recipe is the main thing that sets us apart,” says Courtney Taira, granddaughter of founder Robert Taira and consumer care department lead. “For us it’s all about the quality. It has to be 100 percent correct or it doesn’t go out.” 

Although the company is based in Torrance, Calif., Robert R. Taira founded King’s Hawaiian in Hilo, Hawaii in the 1950s when he opened his first bake shop – Robert’s Bakery – after graduating at the top of his baking class. The first round, soft loaves of original recipe King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread were made there and a local traditional favorite was born. 

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While many people fantasize about being in a rock and roll band, the team at Epic Rights spend their time dreaming up multifaceted merchandise programs for some of the world’s greatest rock icons, including KISS, AC/DC, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Def Leppard and many more. They also have been entrusted with perpetuating the legacy of John Lennon, continuing the spirit of Woodstock and celebrating the storied contributions of CBGB to music’s history.

Based in Los Angeles, the full service global branding, licensing and social media marketing company  was launched by music veteran Dell Furano in January 2014. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in music merchandising, long-term relationships with the biggest names in rock and roll and a reputation as a trusted advisor, Furano and Epic Rights are now committed to growing the already sizeable worldwide fan base of its formidable client roster while also extending clients’ earning potential beyond album releases and concert tours. 

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Debra Valencia is an artist who prides herself on creating sophisticated designs that people want to make part of their lives. Her designs inspire women to be chic and stylish, turning everyday life into a pageantry of color. “Ever since I was five years old I couldn’t be stopped from drawing, painting and every craft available. I was obsessed,” reflects Debra Valencia. “As a teenager, I would even design my own clothes. I remember spending entire weekends making new outfits to wear to school on Monday.”

That lifelong passion has inspired Valencia’s career as an artist, designer, educator and author, and ultimately the development of the unique California lifestyle brand, appropriately named “Debra Valencia.” The Debra Valencia brand is currently licensed with more than 20 manufacturers, with hundreds of licensed products sold at major retailers across the country.

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Practically everybody remembers his or her first box of Crayola crayons. The classic green and gold box has been a school supply staple for generations. In many cases, people can recall the name of their favorite color – purple mountains’ majesty, tickle me pink or macaroni and cheese, for example. 

“We’re an iconic brand,” explains Warren Schorr, Crayola’s vice president, licensing and business development and a fan of cornflower.

The first box of eight Crayola crayons rolled off the assembly line in 1903. The packaging was different, but all of the colors are the same as those found in today’s eight pack. In 1949, the box was expanded to hold 48 colors placed in a box with “stadium seating.” A decade later, the classic 64-color box was introduced with a built-in sharpener. Ninety-six colors were packaged into what Crayola calls the “Big Box” in 1993.

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There’s more to Corona than just great taste and a highly recognizable logo. The brand – which is the world’s top-selling Mexican beer as well as the #1 imported beer and #1 imported light beer in the United States and the fifth-best selling beer in the nation overall – is also synonymous with summer and relaxation, thanks in large part to its award-winning multi-million dollar “Find Your Beach” advertising campaign.

“In our experience working with great brands, the most successful brand extensions result from brands that evoke an aspirational lifestyle that transcends the actual product,” explains Debra Joester, president and CEO of Joester Loria Group (JLG), the marketing and licensing agency representing the Corona brand. “Corona is a truly iconic brand that is universally associated with laid back, carefree times spent with friends, and all of the Corona licensed products are designed to enjoy that lifestyle.”

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If you have seen any product, DVD, television program or movie concerning the Three Stooges in the last 50 years, C3 Entertainment had a hand in its licensing, production or distribution. Founded by the Stooges themselves in 1959, the company has since broadened its scope to include chefs, magicians, rock-and-roll legends, celebrities, artists and properties such as Grizzly Adams.

 “We are a media company in three major operating areas,” points out Eric Lamond, vice president of brand management and strategic planning. “We do the licensing, the production and the distribution. Not every licensing agency will do entertainment production, and I can guarantee you not every licensing agency does content distribution – that is very rare. But we do all of it, and we do it very well. We’re a small company, but we get a lot done. That’s good for us and our licensees.”

Read more: C3 Entertainment Inc.