Elvis WAS in the Building

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News travels fast in our industry (and I'm the first to say, "With the advent of the Internet, there are no trade secrets."), so I guess this will serve as the "official" announcement of my spontaneous vows to my boyfriend (now husband), Michael Garippa (top, right). Rather appropriately (according to my lifestyle), we were married Monday evening, August 28, in Las Vegas, NV, at the Graceland Wedding Chapel...Elvis was on hand to sing "Love Me Tender" and "Viva Las Vegas." As I've related to many, leave it to me to get married while in town for MAGIC Marketplace with a licensing-related celebrity icon onsite to seal the deal. What's more, Steven Ekstract, LICENSE publisher, walked me down the aisle, while Regina Molaro, senior associate editor, stood by my side as maid of honor. Our honeymoon was spent with my walking the MAGIC show floor, and my husband riding his rented Harley-Davidson on various back roads of Las Vegas. It was memorable...and definitely official.

After the nuptials, I headed to the General Mills Licensing Summit (photos below), networking with licensees and visiting Betty Crocker's kitchen (she's not real...did you know that?) and then spent two glorious days aboard the Union Pacific Railroad's executive train—from Riverside, CA, to Salt Lake City, UT—for its first-ever Licensing Summit. An exclusive story about the heritage, history, and opportunities available for UPRR will come your way in March 2007.

In between the two summits, I spent a morning with Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products Worldwide. For those of you who didn't know this...I'm quite a fan. In just seven years' time, Mooney has made some major licensing moves, essentially doubling Disney Consumer Products' worldwide retail sales. He's also applied some unique strategies in regard to retail (direct-to-retail deals for "vault" properties) and property bundling (Disney Princesses and, now, Disney Fairies). Mooney predicted Disney Consumer Products to reach $25 billion by 2007, and is well ahead of schedule with $23 billion as of this past Licensing International Show. And while some may say, "Well, he's heading Disney," he didn't inherit a robust business, and basically had to re-energize the structure and change the mind-set. That, in and of itself, is never an easy task.

Maybe it's thanks to Disney Consumer Products, Marvel's Spider-Man, and a host of corporate and sports brands that made interesting retail and product moves in 2005 that our industry experienced a 3.2 percent gain to reach $180.9 billion in worldwide retail sales in 2005. The better news: All consumer product categories were up. Turn to p. 19 for the overall industry outlook and outlook by category.

As I write this, I'm off to Brand Licensing in London and onto Cannes, France, for MIPCOM Jr. and MIPCOM. I'll provide details from my editor's notepad next month.

Joyceann Cooney jcooney@advanstar.com 212.951.6707

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