Creating for the Future

TSB & Co. is busy building its product offering for 2010 and 2011. "Hopefully the licensing industry will be on an upswing by then. Even though things are tough now, you can't stop creating and developing product," says Karen Hacker, vice president of sales and licensing for Corona, Calif.-based TSB & Co.

The company represents four brands—Sapna, Alece Birnbach, Denise Sullivan and Studio 139 Designs—and is introducing two house brands at the Licensing International Expo: Two Smart Blondes created by Birnbach and Kidz Dreamzzz. And in a first for TSB, the two new brands will be linked with a children's charity.

Recently TSB & Co. has signed Franco for kitchen textiles for its Studio 139 brand and Denise Sullivan has signed a number of deals including Sellers Publishing for note cards, Creative Converting for paper plates and napkins and Stony Creek/Koinonia and Autom/Gifts of Faith for inspirational gift products.

Robert Kauffman Fabric has signed Studio 139, Sapna and Denise Sullivan for over-the-counter bulk fabric.

Alece's Touch of Class line also has signed with Creative Converting for plates and napkins.

TSB's product pipeline is strong with 20 potential projects in the works.

The company also is expanding existing deals. Saturday Knight Limited has added the Denise Sullivan New Flight Butterfly for bath accessories. ICA has signed Go Go Girl for canvas and wall décor. In 2008, ICA Home Décor, one of the leading manufactures of wall and home décor products, developed entire room ensembles around Sapna's themed artwork.

TSB's tentpole artists are generating buzz with new collections. Sapna is doing a holiday collection; Alece is launching a Touch of Sass; Denise Sullivan has two new collections called new Believer and City Dream; and Studio 139 Designs has Monkey Madness and Too Too Cute.

Lifetime Brands just signed a deal with TSB's Sapna brand to create six tabletop collections. Lifetime Brands also will produce a holiday collection from Studio 139 Designs.

Sapna has been featured widely at a number of retailers, including Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, JCPenney, Kohl's and Jo-Ann Stores, ranging from wall and home décor to bath products to craft and hobby supplies. Sapna has been available in Target for more than seven years. Over the past two years, Sapna has sold more juvenile artwork in Kohl's than any other juvenile artist. Sapna's collections have been picked up by Baby Depot, and Babies"R"Us is considering Sapna's baby collections.

At the Licensing International Expo, TSB is putting together a comprehensive brand book featuring about a dozen of its properties available for licensing.

TSB & Co. also provides consulting services to artists whether they are just getting started or are looking to expand and manufacturers looking to license work.

"We get calls constantly. There are lots of starving artists, and it's hard for them to promote their work, which is why we established a consultancy side to help artists," says Hacker.

TSB is keeping its eye on growing the business and attending trade shows so that they are well positioned when the economy starts to turn around. "As difficult as hard times can be, the marketplace and everyone in it will be stronger for those that do survive," says Hacker.

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