Julie Newman has branched out to start her own licensing agency, Jewel Branding & Licensing, after six years with Creative Brands Group. Newman is representing a diverse group of properties, including fashion illustrator Izak Zenou, who is licensing his work for the first time.
Inspired by sources as diverse as Audrey Hepburn and Toulouse Lautrec, as well as his love for women and fashion, Zenou's work is immediately recognizable from the pages of leading international magazines. He is best known as the face of Henri Bendel, the New York fashion institution for which he has been an illustrator for 10 years.
With a client list that includes Bergdrof Goodman, Chanel, Lancôme, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Printemps France, Revlon and Saks Fifth Avenue, Zenou offers the fashion world his unique sense of charm and his ability to express the essence of a brand with a few strokes of his hand.
"He is famous for drawing women in high-fashion looks in different settings ... walking their dogs, having lunch," says Newman. "This is the first time he will be licensing his illustrations, and he is creating a new line of characters—he calls them his muses. He will be putting them in different social situations and will create a whole new look for them. It's very exciting."
Newman is talking with several stationery manufacturers for back-to-school products, social stationery, greeting cards and a T-shirt line. She also is working on a tabletop line of dishes, serveware and platters. "We'll start off first in these categories and grow it from there," she says.
Another key license for Newman is Pet Poets Club, a license that is hot in Europe and is coming to the U.S. for the first time. "Pet Poets is a brand that started in Europe on the Internet in 2007," says Newman. "It was a blog on MySpace that marries pet photography with poetry." Poems titled "Guinea Pigs Might Fly" and "Fifi's Guide to What to Wear" have been a success with European bloggers. "There's a news feature called 'Fifi Yaps' that's 'written' by Fifi the Showbiz Chihuahua. It's very popular and had 17,000 fans in a matter of months," she says. Licensed greeting cards, books and other products are already sold in Europe.
Now Newman is bringing the club to the U.S. Leanin' Tree will produce a line of greeting cards, and four other deals are in the works with manufacturers for a line of social stationery, children's stationery, children's books and gift books. "We are excited to come to the U.S. with this really fun line," she said. "The license provides animal photography and verse, which is unique. Manufacturers have been very receptive to the possibilities the combination of the two elements provide."