First Word - May 2003

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Seems "home is where the heart is" for many consumers, with the war at hand and a growing unemployment rate. Maybe actor Jerry Stiller wasn't so wrong when in an episode of Seinfeld, he said, "Serenity now, serenity now." "Nesting" and "cocooning" were buzzwords of the '90s, now add to those "comfort," "serenity," and "safety," and we've designed the en vogue buzzwords of this new millennium. What do we do with this knowledge? Address it…immediately. Consumers right now (right this moment) are keen on merchandise that will brighten what are gloomy days, in surroundings that are regarded as safety nets. How does licensing play a role? Consumers are loyal to brands they've equated with value, trust, and dependency. Our cover story, "Heading for Home," addresses the many how-to shows that have extended their brands into the category, as well as high-end designer brands that are upping their ante in the category with lower to moderately priced collections. Whether a do-it-yourselfer or a home enthusiast who simply wants to update, how-to and high-end brand names are finding ways to provide consumers with exactly what they need: trustworthy brand names at a variety of price points. Learn more about how "charity can begin at home" by turning to p. 22.

Last year, in association and affiliation with Licensing Show International, we brought to you our Official Show Preview. This year is no different. Beyond a wealth of property highlights, also included are exhibitor listings, seminar schedules, and "predictions" about what could (or should) replace Kmart's shuttered doors. A focus on retail has been one of the major goals this year for License!'s editorial team.

To that end, License! is proud to be bringing its knowledge of the retail and licensing industries to this year's Licensing 2003 International Show, as well. Publisher Steven Ekstract and myself have assembled a distinguished panel of brand and retail executives to address the topic: Beyond the Brand: Successful Retail Partnerships in Brand Extensions. This seminar session will take place Wednesday, June 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Jacob Javits Conference Center. Join License! and executives from Coca-Cola, Sunbeam, NASCAR, Spencer Gifts, Mervyn's, Hot Topic, Kellogg's, Ocean Pacific, among others, as we delve into the true meaning of "partnership" and how partnership can aid in an effective, successful merchandising program for brands and their many extensions.

Also in this issue, don't miss our new Plugged In special supplement, dedicated to the world of video games and interactive technology.

Before you know it, it's show time…I'll meet you there! But as always, I'm reachable at (212) 951-6707 or via e-mail.

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