First Word--September 2004

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Aspirational Take one look at the apparel category and you'll discover that what's trending is the latest music sensation to license his/her name to streetwear and other apparel categories. Hip-hop streetwear seemed a fad at one point in time, but is now a mainstay. The reason: aspiration. Today's consumers—particularly teens and twenty-somethings—may not be able to afford the "lifestyles" of their favorite entertainment icons, but they certainly can afford to "dress" the part. Apparel is only one of the categories experiencing this uptrend in sales: Savvy jewelry licensors and licensees and automotive/motorcycle licensors have taken note. One only needs to consider the phenomenal success of the Orange County Choppers: At the opening of their first retail store in Orange County, NY, the lines to purchase licensed product were practically out the door, and the line to meet the father-son team was even longer. While the average consumer may not be able to afford a customized motorcycle, aspirations are still high.

Every year, License! takes a photo look at the lucrative automotive/motorcycle market and its portfolio of brand extensions. This year, we turned our visual eye to the "nouveau luxury" automotive market (as we like to term it). Some of the most well-respected "luxury" brands—including Porsche, Jaguar, and Range Rover—delivered autos that offer the same quality and lustrous design but with attainable price tags. As many companies are recognizing that even the affluent consumer is shopping mass to class and is hunting for a bargain, the term "luxury" has added definitions: attainable, reachable, aspirational. And, the average-income consumer is appreciating this "nouveau luxury." Curious about the cars we chose? Turn to p. 36 for a closer look at six autos and the categories still available for licensing.

Beth Schlansky, former vice president of licensing and product development at Spencer Gifts, has joined LMCA as chief operating officer. While a retailer, Beth served as a member of License!'s editorial advisory board. License! thanks Beth for her term on our board and for the exclusive opportunity to talk with her and LMCA President Allan Feldman. That story can be found on p. 34.

October 2, we head to MIPCOM Jr. for the first-ever MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge, where new, not licensed, not broadcast properties will have the chance to "pitch" their creations to an international jury that includes: Warren Kornblum (chair of the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge), Hasbro's Jane Ritson-Parsons, Sesame Workshop's Gary Knell, and Gaffney International's Fred Gaffney. October 4, License! will deliver the findings from our Industry Annual Report, 2003 worldwide retail sales by category, before introducing keynote speaker Andy Mooney, chairman, Disney Consumer Products.

Our comprehensive Industry Annual Report is headed your way next month. In the meantime, think LINK!

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