10 Minutes With … Cool Brands on Building a Successful Startup

Ahead of Licensing Expo, License Global spoke with Ezra S. Ashkenazi, founder and chief executive officer, Cool Brands, about the company’s plans for its first Licensing Expo.

Jane Neal, Content Editor

April 24, 2024

4 Min Read
Ezra S. Ashkenazi, Cool Brands
Ezra S. AshkenaziCool Brands

License Global: What are some key examples of licensing done right from within the Cool Brands portfolio?

Ezra S. Ashkenazi: First off, let me say that as the founder and CEO of Cool Brands, my team and I are thrilled to be exhibiting for the first time at Licensing Expo. We are proud to say that Cool Brands, a startup, has quickly ascended to success. Our goal is to mirror the success of iHome, which I founded and built into a well-known, respected brand, with strategic partners and innovative thinking.

In a short time, we are captivating our target audiences with innovative and fresh approaches and out-of-the-box thinking. Our company has served as a magnet for fresh connections and lucrative prospects, all of which can lead to new opportunities. In fact, we have signed on several brand owners, most recently Nuby, a global brand, ranked No. 1 in the baby and toddler products category to manage, market and license their new apparel/soft accessories program.

Our distinct business model and go-to-market strategies have left an indelible impression, enticing retailers and manufacturers to seek us out to engage in fruitful conversations and possible collaborations. Through dynamic networking, we have and will continue to forge pathways to new horizons, amplifying our influence and market presence. Cool Brands’ rapid rise is a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence based on our diverse professional team. Visit our booth D142 and experience firsthand our diverse portfolio of brands so we can collaborate with your company.

How do you identify those potential partners?

To be candid, we look at a combination of approaches – traditional, such as networking, and word of mouth, which has served us quite well, coupled with innovative thinking. Beyond industry norms, exploring adjacent sectors or complementary markets can unveil untapped opportunities. Of course, we meet with retailers, manufacturers, seeking out the “white space” within categories and identifying gaps in assortments to drive greater margins. We layer in category and market research to help identify opportunities in the marketplace and support our business proposals. We feel that by focusing on these opportunities, we can leverage licensing and manufacturing partnerships to enhance their competitive edge and profitability.

What is trending in the retail category at the moment?

Currently, a notable trend that we are seeing is the growing shift towards private label from national brands. This transition is fueled by various factors, including demand for great value, improved gross margins and brand differentiation. Retailers can exercise greater control over pricing, quality and branding – distinguishing themselves from their competitors. Additionally, private-label products typically offer higher margins compared to national brands, as retailers can avoid the costs associated with brand licensing and marketing. Embracing private label bodes well for retailers and presents them with opportunities to enhance their competitiveness and financial performance in the dynamic retail landscape. Our strength and unique point of differentiation as a company is our core understanding of private label to help drive increased sales, gross margins and profitability. Many of our brands fit the need of the growing trend of co-branding. Again, helping to drive differentiation and increase gross margins. If co-branding is on your company’s roadmap, Cool Brands is your destination.

What are your goals for the Licensing Expo show this year?

In a nutshell, Licensing Expo provides us unparalleled exposure to a targeted audience of elite industry professionals, retailers, manufacturers and licensors. It offers us a platform to showcase new and existing brands, product offerings and companies to forge valuable connections and gain insights into new and exciting business opportunities.

Are there new IPs and brands that you’ll be showcasing at Licensing Expo?

Yes, and we are very excited for the show attendees to visit by our booth D142 and meet with our best-in-class team members to learn more … A Star Is Born, AirJump, Jiggles & Giggles, Nuby, Petmedics, Princess Collection, Xtreme Weather Tough are just a few of the brands being showcased. You will see that, collectively, these brands transcend multiple categories and target audiences, from softlines to hardlines, from indoor to outdoor, from juvenile to adults. It’s a strategic move for driving growth and maximizing revenue potential.

What can we expect from Cool Brands for the remainder of this year and into 2025?

You can expect us to make a splash! As we navigate the remainder of the year and into 2025, our focus will be on strategically announcing smart and thoughtful new celebrity partnerships, brand ambassadors, shaping key retail collaborations and introducing new brands into the portfolio. At the end of the day, Cool Brands thrives on collaborations and the power of partnerships. We look forward to a successful 2024 and 2025.

Cool Brands will be attending Licensing Expo 2024 in Las Vegas, NV and will be at booth #D142.

Register for Licensing Expo 2024.

About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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