Old Navy has always been known for keeping up with the latest fashions and even creating many apparel trends. Because of its fashion reputation, the industry took notice when Old Navy started making a bigger splash in licensing.
From Batman and Hello Kitty to UCLA or the Chicago Bulls, Old Navy now offers a licensed choice for any customer. The displays of licensed products can't be missed in stores with the logos proudly displayed on mannequins and end aisles in high-traffic areas.
License! Global went right to the source, Emilie Arel, Old Navy's senior director of brand licensing, for the recipe for licensing success. It is clear Old Navy is in licensing to stay and wants garments fitting with its cool image and not just a logo slapped onto a t-shirt. While being on trend is paramount, the goal is for nostalgic or evergreen properties that won't be "out" tomorrow.
License! Global: What are the key licensed brands now sold at Old Navy?
Arel: Old Navy's licensing business has two main components: lifestyle and sports. In our lifestyle business, we have a "candy store" approach to the product – a range of different properties providing fun, variety, excitement and constant newness to our consumer. We offer everything from Hello Kitty to Superman, and from ET to ACDC, appealing to our customers desire to express their personality and have fun with their clothes. In our sports business, we focus on professional and collegiate sports with the NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA and NHL being represented in our stores. We have a retro, sophisticated and stylish approach; we want fans to look sporty, cute and cool while cheering for their favorite team.
License! Global: How are licenses performing and why do you think shoppers gravitate to these names at Old Navy?
Arel: Old Navy's licensing product resonates well with our customer for a few reasons. First, we're committed to offering a garment that our customer loves – great fabric, great art and great technique – and not simply applying a license on a t-shirt. Second, we're giving our customer approachable fashion – both from a styling and fiscal perspective. This allows our customer to see a celebrity kid in US Weekly and buy the same shirt tomorrow. Third, we provide constant newness and a wide variety of licensing properties. We don't focus only on the newest movie or current releases. Instead, we celebrate vintage properties that allow our customer to reminisce about their childhood.
License! Global: Is there an age range you are targeting? And, do you have plans to expand the licensed portfolio?
Arel: Old Navy's licensed apparel appeals to the entire family. We offer everything from the cool, trend-right women's licensed tees to the cutest newborn onesies. We will continue evaluating opportunities to expand this category in 2011, as appropriate to our overall brand strategy. We have great partnerships in place.