Wild Wings, a publisher, distributor and retailer of wildlife, sporting and nostalgic Americana art prints and art-related products, is adding new artists and licensees to its business.
Licensees look to Wild Wings for images of big game, birds, wolves, dogs, horses, Native-American themes, children's themes, Americana, rural scenes, fishing, ocean life and more. The company specializes in art that reflects an active, outdoor lifestyle and represents more than 50 artists.
The company includes four business units: a retail business encompassing direct mail and Internet efforts, a wholesale business serving dealers and conservation organizations, a licensing business and an original art sales division.
Koller said the many facets of the business benefit licensees—the company shares sales data with its partners. "We share information freely, so if a company wants to know what the best-selling Terry Redmind image is, we know. We have a lot of accurate data, so companies don't have to do their own research," she says.
More than 8,000 nature images are available on the Wild Wings online archive. This digital library serves as the foundation of a licensing business that, along with catalog and wholesale businesses, drives the sale of approximately $95 million in retail products annually. The company counts many major direct response and collectibles companies among its licensing customers.
After 40 years in the business, Wild Wings continues to lead the industry in product development and innovative approaches to incorporating nature themes with a wide range of art products, gifts, home furnishings, collectibles and apparel.
One new design direction for the company is patterns. "We are seeing more companies looking for patterned fabrics, especially with horse themes," says Sara Koller, Wild Wings vice president. "Animal-patterned images are a good fit for fabrics, home furnishing and apparel." Koller says Wild Wings' kid camel pattern, designed by Persis Clayton Weirs, has been very popular.
Wild Wings, which has represented some of its key artists for more than 30 years, is a company that views artist relationships as its key strategic advantage. "Those relationships allow us to leverage the artistic achievements of this creative group across a broad range of products and distribution channels," says Koller. The company continues to add new artists to its lineup. Scot Storm, known for his wildlife images of birds, and Daniel Pollera, an artist known for coastal scenes, are two notable new artists at the company.
The multifaceted company recently joined forces with licensee Bradford Exchange for a line of products featuring the images of artist Terry Redlin. "We've reinvigorated our partnership with Bradford," says Koller. "Licensed product categories include checks, address label, plates, outdoor flags, home décor, candles—it's huge." Products bearing Redlin's nostalgic images will hit the market mid-year.
Other recent licensing agreements are a melamine outdoor luncheonware line with Motorhead and children's horse books from Harvest House Publishing featuring the art of Chris Cummings. The company also has seen a renewed in interest in jigsaw puzzles and has 10 new licensees in that category.