Sponsored By

Power Women in Licensing

Kathy Ireland Stays StrongBy Mike DuffKathy Ireland's career path led from model to actress to Kmart apparel designer to builder of a fashion, home furnishings

April 6, 2018

27 Min Read

Kathy Ireland Stays Strong

By Mike Duff

Kathy Ireland's career path led from model to actress to Kmart apparel designer to builder of a fashion, home furnishings and jewelry brand that now generates $1.4 billion in annual worldwide retail sales, ranking No. 28 among the 2009 License! Global Top 100 Licensors. Ireland and the company she founded, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, continues to press forward with initiatives in categories as diverse as body care and fresh-cut flowers. i1_585.jpg

Today, more than 100,000 items carry the Kathy Ireland brand—one founded on the principles of providing strong fashion, quality and value and finding solutions for busy moms.

Although Ireland plays down the role of her celebrity in the brand's foundation, names can convey a lot. Mark Neckes, a professor and former chairman of the marketing department at Johnson & Wales University, says KIWW brings something more to the game. i2_41.gifi2_t_41.gif

"Ireland has name recognition with the people she's catering to, consumers beyond 25, and name recognition is half the battle," he says. "But also she has developed the right model with the right reputation and has been slow and careful in developing it based on good quality and design."

The latest product launch from KIWW is an example of how the company tackles new products and new segments. Ireland says her dissatisfaction with skin care products led her in a long search for something better.

"I've been working with chemists on it for over 20 years, but I never was satisfied," says Ireland. "We would come up with stuff, and the best I could say was, 'It's OK.'"

Finally, she discovered E.L. Erman, an Israeli skin care producer that uses natural ingredients and minerals from the Dead Sea in its formulations, and forged a partnership that now produces the Kathy Ireland Spa, Kathy Ireland Home Spa and I.D. Solutions for Men spa, face and body treatments.

Ireland also recently expanded lines with long-time partners Chef Andre and Nicholas Walker for items under the brands ACafe and J du J. Chef Andre advises KIWW on cooking and entertainment to support the ACafe brand, while Walker, a landscape designer, heads up the company's Jardin du Jour garden products division. ACafe body care products offer food-based aromas, such as chocolate and apple spice, while J du J offers the scents of herbs, fruits and vegetables.

The I.D. Solutions for Men line and a men's-oriented product from Hanna's Candles are the initial efforts into an area expected to generate growth for KIWW going forward. Right now, Ireland is keeping mum about what shape the men's initiative will take. "It's an area we have under development," she says. "It's too early to talk about."

KIWW continues to partner with retailers as well as licensees. The company has launched a new towel and bedding program with Sears Canada and is expanding wall coverings and bath accessories with the retailer, as well.

"Sears Canada is doing very good business," Ireland says. "Their stores are beautiful, and their customer services are very strong."

What Ireland stresses about Sears Canada exemplifies what the company looks for in all its brand partners: strong operations with a knowledge of how to address their markets.

Not only does the company work with everything from leather sofas to diamond jewelry, it targets a range of demographics and tastes even within a single product designation. In candles, for instance, KIWW and partner Hanna's Candles offer 11 different collections based on KIWW style guides including high-end spa items, as well as products developed to suit drug chain and supermarket distribution. The company addresses seasonal with Home for the Holidays, everyday purchasers with Essentials, the inspirational market with Angels and Americana lovers with the Quilts of Gee's Bend, a collection that originally was developed for bedding.

While it continues to work with retail partners in direct programs, KIWW found exclusive deals like the one it had with Kmart too restricting. After the Kmart partnership ended a few years ago, KIWW made a commitment to service independent retailers and small chains on a basis of equal consideration with the big guys.

"Independents are still a focus, and we will always honor that commitment," Ireland says.

Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, says Ireland's background has provided a degree of fashion credibility but didn't lock her into a particular niche. She was free to develop a lifestyle brand, one of the first in mass-market retailing, around her role as a mother. "Ireland had been around long enough that some resonating values have become attached to her," Passikoff says. "The fact is that she has been wise in the choices that she's made in terms of how she's been licensing her name. She has not been looking at identifying primarily with clothing or housewares or furniture but with maintaining the same quality, so she has been able to move from one category to another."

Ireland is publishing her second book this year, "Real Solutions for Busy Moms," with a major push planned to support the publication and her brand besides. Initiatives in jewelry and fashion are slated for 2009.

KIWW entered an agreement with Florabundance, a company founded in 1994 in Carpinteria, Calif., near Ireland's home. The result is Kathy Ireland Designs by Florabundance, a product line including 850 items and a Web site that allows visitors to shop by flower, by variety and by using a KIWW style guide. Plans for Kathy Ireland Home by Florabundance call for the introduction of flower bulbs and one-of-a-kind fresh-cut assortments.

Business Success from B to Z

By Mike Duff

The B. Smith line at Bed Bath & Beyond, which today includes more than 146 SKUs, is expanding into the art, rug and seasonal/holiday segments. As with the tabletop and domestics items that established the line, they combine influences from African and Asian sources with a traditional influence to create a look that works in a wide range of settings.

i3_181.jpg

While the Bed Bath & Beyond initiatives are critical, Smith also has developed a range of furnishings for independent furniture stores, dubbed At Home with B. Smith. Residential furniture is now the centerpiece of the program. In launch mode now, B. Smith Gallery, is a home furnishings initiative that will cover rugs, permanent botanicals, mirrors and frames and art. Licensees include Surya for rugs, Roma Home Décor for mirrors, Foster's Point for permanent botanicals and Picture Source for wall art. Commercial furniture is set to follow.

Smith's ambitions remain multifaceted. She intends to open three new restaurants between now and 2013, one each in Atlanta, Chicago and Miami. She is planning a new cookbook release in 2009, tentatively titled "Southern Cooking A to Z." A home entertainment and cooking DVD, which can run on a laptop right on a kitchen counter during meal preparation, is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of this year. A new television show based on her cookbooks is also in development, as well.

i4_137.jpg

Smith's video and television plans also include a new run of some of her classic TV shows that include a roster of celebrity guests such as Aretha Franklin, Bobby Flay, Li'l Kim, Darius Rucker, Cedrick the Entertainer, Henry Winkler, Billy Joel and Little Richard.

"B. Smith with Style" has appeared on cable in more than 90 percent of the U.S. and in 40 regions and countries, including the Middle East, South America, Japan and Europe.

Smith has plans to explore some new product categories this year with a line of cosmetics, skin care, fragrances and hair care products, and is currently negotiating with a major national retailer for the launch.

In addition, Smith has set licenses for fine and costume jewelry and olive oil with Zalemark and Alden Group. In fact, Smith has been building a jewelry initiative, acting as a QVC host selling jewelry, developing the products and plans for the future.

The scope of Smith's future plans is ambitious, but its guiding strategy resides in a brand that always has, at its core, the experience and style Smith has developed over the course of her multifaceted career. The brand evolves based on Smith's practical understanding of what consumers want and how to deliver it.

Smith began as a model and, although her career has taken her elsewhere, she continues acting as a spokeswoman for national brand products such as Betty Crocker, Colgate Palmolive, Pillsbury and Toll Brothers.

Dan Gasby, Smith's husband and chairman of their company B. Smith Enterprises, explains, "Smith's style—drawing from a range of influences but expressed in a manner that is colorful, sophisticated and accessible—has wide appeal and transfers well from medium to medium.

"We find that people from different walks of life like B. Smith," adds Gasby. "They feel comfortable with her. She doesn't speak in stereotypes. She has taken the essence of her life and turned it into a business."

Kidston Extends Global Reach

By Josephine Collins

With her signature vintage style florals and sweet print colorways, designer Cath Kidston has built a £30 million ($45.9 million) business in the 15 years since the launch of her first store in London's affluent and trendy Holland Park in 1993.

i5_107.jpg

She began by selling vintage fabrics, wallpapers and brightly painted junk furniture. But her re-working of traditional English country house style meant that her shop soon became a cult success—and the springboard for a business that helped Kidston to the finalist lineup of this year's Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year Award.

Kidston began to design her own prints and products for her shop. One of the first was a premium-priced printed ironing board cover. It was practical, quirky and with a distinctive floral print that came to epitomize the Cath Kidston look.

i6_75.jpg

The product profile was steadily expanded to include an extensive range of homewares, as well as women's fashion and accessories. Last year saw the launch of the Cath Kids brand, and Kidston also wrote four style books, most recently "Make!" published in October 2008.

Alongside her own retail and wholesale businesses, Kidston also built a licensing program, with the first deal signed in 2003. Licenses now include Churchill for china, Fulton for umbrellas and Wellingtons, Turner Bianca for bedding and toweling, toiletries from Heathcote & Ivory and Roberts radios. Simon Harrison supplies Cath Kidston jewelry, paper tableware is from IHR and stationery is from Chronicle Books/Quadrille Publishing.

The latest license deal is with Maclaren for a Quest stroller that launches this month.

Kidston also uses brand collaborations, creating tents with outdoor retailer Milletts in 2005, Nokia mobile phones with Carphone Warehouse in 2006 and collectible radios with Roberts from 2005 onward.

In 2008, her most high-profile collaboration was with Tesco to produce printed eco-friendly shopping bags made from plastic bottles to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Sales of the bags raised more than £400,000 ($612,615) for the charity and saved almost 6 million plastic bottles from landfill.

The business is now a global lifestyle brand, with Kidston remaining the creative director. It has 26 shops and concessions in the U.K., two shops in the Republic of Ireland, five in Japan and one in Kuwait. Multi Trend runs the Kuwait store, and the Japanese stores are run by Kanematsu and United Arrows. The latest U.K. opening was in Liverpool in April, the company's first in the northwest, and there are several more openings planned for this year.

Cath Kidston also operates an international mail order, Web and wholesale business, splitting roughly 50 percent of sales from retail, 25 percent from Web and mail order and 25 percent wholesale, excluding the licensed collections.

A spokeswoman for the business says: "We are frequently approached by prospective licensing partners. But more often, our intuitive in-house product development team will spot a gap in the Cath Kidston range. We then source and target prospective licensees who we feel would further the brand.

"Our brand integrity is paramount, so the selection process is lengthy, in-depth and varies for each prospective licensee. The final decision, though, is always creatively based. We are very conscious of not overextending or diluting the brand, so we only introduce at the most one new license a year."

The strategy looks good: Cath Kidston remains a premium brand whose values echo through all its product categories.

Rachael Ray's Real Life Lines

In early May, Watch Entertainment, the parent of Rachael Ray's licensing and television company, marked a licensing milestone with its first-ever "all-hands-on-deck" summit held with representatives of all the Rachael Ray licenses. Says John Cusimano, Watch Entertainment chief executive officer and Ray's husband. "We had 27 people in a room," he says. "It was amazing how, over time, the licensing had grown."

i7_59.jpg

It has only been a few years since Ray first tested the licensing waters with housewares she developed with partner Meyer, cutlery with Ultra Pro's Furi brand and small electrics with Salton. The overall licensing program has continued to expand with kitchen and bath products from Westpoint Home, pet food from Nutrish and soup stock and extra virgin olive oil from Colavita, wines from My Wine Direct and a line of food storage products set to debut on QVC this month. Ray's next cookbook is due in November.

"I am aware of staying away from product lines that may seem opportunistic at the time but ultimately do not relate to me as a person," Ray says. "However, as the brand grows, I have begun and hope to continue to expand outside of the kitchen and into other lifestyle items, for example, bed, bath and travel."

i8_40.jpg

Going forward, the goal is to keep new products tied to Ray's life and activities. Bed and bath became an attractive area for Rachael Ray's brand expansion, and product offerings were designed to reflect Ray's real life needs.

"With the bedding and bath with Westpoint Home, it's about story telling," Cusimano says. "We have different lines that are more country or city because Rachael has homes in both."

By maintaining that close link to Ray, the developing brand retains an authenticity even as it grows.

"If an idea comes along and it doesn't make any sense, we're not going to pursue it. Different expansion areas make sense—home, maybe a little into beauty—but I don't think we're going to go far beyond that. I don't think we're going to be selling tires and chainsaws," says Cusimano.

"When I first got involved in licensing, my initial goal was to offer viewers and readers the same products I used on my shows and in my home," says Ray. "For example, one of our first products was an oval pasta pot. It's the same length as long-cut pasta and takes up less space on a small stove."

Beauty is an idea that Ray and Cusimano are in the early stages of exploring. Also, housewares—beyond bed and bath, and potentially including furniture—is within the company's comfort zone.

The inspiration for Ray's upcoming food storage transportation line stems from her experience on TV. Ray's early television career included the show "$40 a Day," which later morphed into "Tasty Travels" and "Rachael's Vacation." Touring for TV provided hands-on experience for what works best in moving a food show between destinations and where the food storage/travel items being prepared to roll out were developed and road tested.

The connection between cooking, travel, home decorating and media have helped the Rachael Ray label emerge as a lifestyle brand.

"What we're starting to do goes hand in hand with where the magazine is," Cusimano says. "It has become a lifestyle brand that has expanded outside the kitchen in ways that are subtle and some that are not so subtle."

The connection is not just about marketing, Cusimano says, Ray herself is hands on and wants to oversee each element of the licensing program to ensure quality and continuity.

"We want to digest one thing then look at the next," he says. "We're not a massive company and, at this point, I don't want us to have too many things on our plate. We get lots of license offers now, but we have to coordinate what we're doing.

"With Rachael, there has to be a connection to something that she uses at home," he says. "It has to make sense to her and to her brand."

MSLO's New Era of Partnerships

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia continues to press the boundaries of an already vast licensing program with the expansion of its independent home furnishings brands, additional product introductions at Macy's, new food initiatives and the search for a new mass market partner as its Kmart deal expires. i9_37.jpg

When Martha Stewart Signature was introduced at Macy's, Stewart took a high-profile position in the department store's advertising, including a ground-breaking online campaign for the past holiday season dubbed Believe. She also will take a roll in the advertising for Macy's fall product launches, says retailer spokesman Jim Sluzewski.

She has been making acquisitions, too, last year purchasing Emeril Lagasse's non-restaurant properties, including food and cookware licenses. The Emeril brand is expanding under MSLO and recently introduced a new coffee line with Timothy's.

i10_26.jpg

The launch of Martha Stewart Signature was important for Macy's. Martha Stewart Signature, part of a larger private-label and exclusive-brands portfolio ranging from Tommy Hilfiger to Donald Trump, had a high profile that incorporated celebrity and a recognized expertise and provided Macy's with a vehicle it could use to reach new consumers who might be reluctant to shop an unfamiliar banner. In a conference call early last year, Karen Hoguet, Macy's chief financial officer, assessed the previous fall's rollout of Martha Stewart Signature, and says: "The Martha Stewart launch across all the Macy's doors was successful."

In Martha Stewart Omnimedia's last conference call, on April 30, Robin Marino, co-chief executive officer and president of merchandising, says: "The Martha Stewart Collection continues to perform well for Macy's. We were excited to learn that it has become Macy's largest-volume brand in their home business."

Marino also introduced a fresh partnership. "During the quarter, we signed a new licensing agreement with Hain Celestial Group for a Martha Stewart line of natural home cleaning products," she states. "The program, called Martha Stewart Clean, is expected to be introduced at retail later this year."

The food element of the licensing program is in flux as the deal with Costco for Kirkland Signature Martha Stewart products isn't being renewed. However, Martha Stewart Living still plans to seek a range of new opportunities in its food licensing business.

"We're concluding a two-year run with Costco in which we've been able to gain valuable learning with respect to developing the Kirkland Signature Martha Stewart co-branded food products. Now our goal is to take what we've learned and apply it to a much broader Martha Stewart food line that will be distributed in a wide variety of outlets," Marino says.

Similarly, the wind down of the Kmart business has created opportunities for MSLO to develop new relationships in the mass market. The company already has a crafts line in Walmart, which makes for speculation about how their relationship might evolve.

Marino says "2009 was the end of an era as we transition ... into a new era in which we'll have the pieces in place to be a stronger and more diversified company. A big part of this new era will, of course, be a new relationship at mass retail, and I can tell you that we continue to progress positively on that front."

Rolling out this fall as part of the program developed with Bernhardt Furniture Co., the Greenwich Street collection marks a turn toward more contemporary styling.

Five new portable lighting groups and one new hardwire group are joining the Martha Stewart Lighting collection, manufactured by Murray Feiss Lighting. The assortment will be available through independent lighting and furniture galleries nationwide beginning in the fall.

Martha Stewart Rugs is expanding into the hand-tufted segment with an initial collection of five, manufactured by Safavieh, to be distributed through independent furniture and rug stores.

Deen's Southern Sensibilities

Paula Deen sees the world through a perspective based in Savannah, Ga., but her vision is universal because it's based on the concept that quality of life depends upon making the everyday better.

i11_19.jpg

Renowned as a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author—not to mention host of "Paula's Best Dishes," her latest television show on the Food Network—Deen most recently launched a line of home furnishings with Universal Furniture.

A bit old fashioned and certainly a little Southern, Deen brings an awareness of the concerns that affect consumers today and that has helped her forge a brand that is widely popular while remaining true to her identity.

i12_16.jpg

"Paula said something once that was really the key to everything we've done," notes Barry Weiner, Deen's manager and partner. "She says, 'I want everyone to have the things I have.' What she described is what you would call affordable elegance."

That philosophy was forged at Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons in Savannah. She decided customers ought to enjoy the restaurant as a regular part of their lives and not a special occasion.

"She says she would rather have something people could really use and get their money's worth. She tries to make things really affordable," says Weiner.

About a year ago, Harrah's approached Deen about doing a buffet restaurant for its casino in Tunica, Miss. Weiner says the restaurant was a hit from the start. "The numbers for the buffet were up 20 percent over projection in a bad economy," he says.

Deen's fame as a cook translates into food products, and she does an extensive license program with Smithfield from hams to nuts. "The most important criteria I have when developing a product line—be it housewares, furniture or food—is that it's affordable and a good value."

The work she had done in her partnership with Smithfield Foods extends to the manufacturer's Helping Hungry Homes program, which provides food to needy families. In 2008, Smithfield and Deen distributed more than 400,000 pounds of meat products to cities across the U.S. Deen says of the effort, "We want to do what we can to make things better for those who are going through hard times."

In her next big product initiative in food licensing, Deen has started rolling out a line of crab cakes, fried shrimp and seafood entrees with GoBo, a line that initially debuted on QVC on March 31.

Deen's furniture line just debuted in High Point, N.C., as part of the furniture show there and should begin to appear in independent furniture stores this summer.

Deen entered the cookware arena with Meyer as her partner and has since developed cookware that ranges from wood utensils to cast iron casserole pans.

"We try to ... make sure we have quality control and that everything that comes out is good. If someone is going to spend $150 on a set of pots and pans, we want to be able to say this is the best you can buy for $150," says Weiner.

Home and housewares licensing has progressed to include dinnerware and rugs with Kaleen. Universal Furniture developed bedroom, dining room, home office, home entertainment, accents and upholstery for the Deen brand debut at the High Point market. While Universal will handle the bulk of the line directly, its sister company Craftmaster will produce the upholstery and has crafted 25 fabrics exclusively for the Paula Deen line.

The furniture line is based on Deen's lifestyle in her homes in Georgia and Mississippi. Her licensing partners spent time with her in those locations as part of the product development process. "No matter what she does, there has to be something organic about it, organic to who she is," says Weiner. "The way Paula feels, you can't just grab someone's name for the sake of a name. You have to know who she is."

Bastianich Stays Close to Home

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich takes the time to do things right. That has been the case with her cooking, restaurants and PBS television show "Lidia's Italy," and now that is how she will expand her growing licensing program.

i13_14.jpg

A chef by training, Bastianich today owns four New York City restaurants and founded Tavola Productions, the entertainment company that produces "Lidia's Italy" and other programming.

In partnership with her son, Joseph, she produces award-winning wines at their Bastianich Vineyards in Friuli and La Mozza Vineyards in Maremma, Italy. With her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, and Shelly Burgess Nicotra, she heads up an exclusive travel company that organizes customized trips to Italy with a focus on combining gastronomy with art history. Manuali also heads up Bastianich's licensing program.

i14_12.jpgi14_t_2.jpg

Bastianich's initial entrée into licensing was a line of specialty pasta sauces—dubbed Lidia's Flavors of Italy—that are sold in upscale food retailers. Now, she is applying the experiences derived from that initiative to develop product for other categories. "My products evolved out of experiences, my lifestyle, my work," she says. Translating that idea from restaurant to television show and eventually into the licensing program is a priority.

The relationships she has built with the companies who sponsor her show and who sell products through the ecommerce part of her Web site, lidiasitaly.com, also have influenced the licensing program's development. For example, she says that sponsor Colavita helped her formulate her pasta sauces and develop manufacturing partnerships.

Although offers to partner on licenses have been received, Manuali says that, thus far, products have been developed in-house.

"We have had a number of opportunities but never found the right fit," Manuali says, "So, we're doing it on our own. On television, her viewers believe her, so it's all about giving people what they expect and pay for."

The next phase of her licensing program will involve tabletop and cookware and kitchen textiles. In the development cycle, tabletop is furthest along.

Manuali says housewares won't be launched until all elements are close to full development, but tabletop will probably hit the market initially. She says a few products may be in stores in time for holiday with the full program ready to roll out in about nine months.

"We've got a lot of balls in the air, so, until all is perfect, we're not going forward," she says. "It's very important for our concept to have a very soft launch."

In the spirit of independence, Manuali says, the licensing program hasn't been designed for partnership with any particular retailer or channel of distribution, either. "Wherever we wind up going with it, it's going to be in brand tiers. We're not going to come out in one big push," she says.

Bastianich also is looking to be socially responsible while developing product. "The raw materials have to be within my philosophy. We can't consume today not caring about tomorrow. I'm very socially conscious and work with organizations such as UNICEF, making sure people are eating properly around the world."

Just how the food expansion will follow the housewares introduction is still undetermined.

Bastianich is interested in creating food products that convey her flavors and provide as much of a quality advantage as possible. A range of programs, including some tailored to specific retailers, may emerge from the food licensing initiative. "We are talking to QVC about doing a program for them, a plan for the home where people buy complete meals," Bastianich says.

It might take awhile before consumers first taste the fruits of such an initiative but, when they do, Bastianich will be sure that the flavors they experience will be hers.

Packer Brings Flower Power

By Mike Duff

Jane Packer believes that flowers provide inspiration for better living, and feels they have the potential to change the environment in a home's every room. That belief has built a program that includes not only floral arrangements, but also hotel decoration, schools and a growing range of consumer products.

i15_10.jpg

Packer gained her reputation as the florist who, five years after opening up her London shop, was commissioned by Sara Ferguson to provide the floral arrangements for her 1986 wedding to Prince Andrew. Three years after that, Packer opened a school of floral design in London, with a second debuting in Tokyo in 1990. A shop and school in New York followed in 2000.

Today, eight Packer schools operate worldwide, including three in Japan, two in Korea, one in Hong Kong and one in Kuwait. While she owns the operations in London and New York, the rest of the schools are licensed, operating under curricula Packer establishes and updates regularly.

i16_8.jpg

Even as she was developing her shops and school operations, Packer was further building her reputation through a series of books she authored. Now numbering 14, the book series has established Packer as the best-selling floral author in the world and a recognized expert in the art of improving home environments, says Angela Farrugia, group managing director of The Licensing Company, which acts as Packer's partner in the licensing business.

Westin Hotels has become a key focus for Packer. She acts as the company's exclusive floral designer, producing five seasonal style guides a year that Westin disseminates through its entire hotel chain. The style guides are then distributed to local hotel florists. Packer provides regular webinars for the various territories to ensure consistency and to garner feedback, Farrugia said.

Over time, Packer also has developed programs with a number of different retailers, including floral delivery services in the U.K. and the U.S., where she works with 1-800-Flowers. In the non-virtual world, she has struck direct-to-retail deals with the Shinsegae department store in South Korea and U.K.-based Debenhams department stores.

The work she has done with Debenhams has helped Packer advance the consumer products element of the licensing program. Vases are a mainstay of the line and are among the best-selling items the department store has carried, Farrugia says. Debenhams' Grey Rose by Jane Packer collection now includes gifts, faux flowers and homewares, including home fragrances and aromatherapy products. After an initial five-year run, Debenhams has extended and expanded its deal with Packer to include Christmas décor, conservatory furniture, outdoor living and further growth of the faux flower range.

"The thing about Jane is she believes her art is influential in every room in a house and extends to garden, as well," Farrugia says. "Jane has an acute nose. She is very forward-thinking about, when you put flowers together, what will the aroma be. With scents, I get her together with the fragrance house before we meet with licensees."

Packer's products with Debenhams provide a basis for further development of the Packer line. That development remains a collaboration between Packer and TLC that has each build on its strong suits to advance the licensing element of the business.

"Our relationship goes back 11 years, when TLC went into a joint venture with Jane Packer. We've become her business arm. We have a very strong design team here, and they work with her to create concept boards and put together visions of the product ranges."

Together, TLC and Packer have registered prints for home textiles and have taken other substantial steps to advance the business. The process is ongoing, as Packer links her floral designs closely with the seasons. While that might create challenges, it creates opportunities as well, as the Christmas expansion plans with Debenhams demonstrate. "What we do is interpret her style, when she picks out flowers that are key to her seasonal activity," Farrugia says. "We partner with her on everything. She stays on top picking out the tone, and we interpret that and look after the licensing relationship. Nothing goes out into the market that Jane doesn't love."

As a designer florist, Packer has a deep interest in natural resources and the healing properties of plants and flowers, Farrugia says. Going forward, a major opportunity for the licensing business will be botanically inspired beauty products, toiletries, fragrances and candles. "Just as you have designers looking at trends every season, Jane has pioneered colors and moods," she says. "Flowers are the big emphasis in influencing the licensing program and showing us new ways of using her designs."

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry Article
Join 62,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like