In 2013, Cherokee will emphasize its new business, in particular the Liz Lange Maternity and Completely Me properties, which it acquired in September 2012 from LLM Management, an affiliate of Bluestar Alliance. Liz Lange Maternity is currently available exclusively at Target, while Completely Me has exclusive relationships with the Home Shopping Network in the U.S. and The Shopping Channel in Canada. Cherokee will look to expand the brands globally and add new licensees, says Stupp.
Countries such as the EMEA region and India are showing high interest in the Liz Lange Maternity brand in particular, which will gain product to encompass all phases of pregnancy as well as infant and toddler lines. Cherokee will look to leverage its distribution network of more than 40 countries worldwide to further grow the brands.
For the Cherokee brand itself, the focus is to grow apparel related accessories such as hats, gloves, backpacks, handbags and footwear, along with t-shirts, socks and underwear.
"Licensees are recognizing t-shirts, socks and underwear as a major growth category," says Stupp. "Every licensee that has adopted that category has seen up to a 15 percent growth in sales."
Cherokee has identified global supply resources to assist and grow the category for its partners.
Other key initiatives for The Cherokee Group, and perhaps its most pertinent, is investing in its infrastructure, including its 360-degree business model, which extends support, product development, marketing, sourcing infrastructure and more to its stable of licensees. The Cherokee Group will also look to the organic growth of its licensees, with more than 30 on board for the Cherokee brand already.
Licenses are Apparel Business Drivers
Both licensors see the absolute relevance in apparel licensing, as does Christopher Wicks, chief executive officer, Defiance USA. Defiance operates on both sides of the licensing coin, as licensor for its brands DaVinci and Baby Rock, and as licensee for rock n' roll inspired brands Lennon/McCartney, John Lennon and Scott Weiland.
"I honestly believe building business through licensing is a brilliant way to do business," says Wicks.
For the ever-growing licensed apparel segment, the licensing industry and events such as MAGIC Market Week and June's upcoming Licensing Expo remain a viable and necessary conduit to closing serious business and setting consumer trends for the coming year.