By  on May 25, 1994

NEW YORK -- Revlon Inc. sees licensing as a two-way street.

For decades, the beauty giant has been on the paying end of the process, signing deals to use names from Norman Norell to Ellen Tracy.

That was until recently, when Revlon changed the rules of the licensing game by striking deals to slap its name on a dozen categories of loosely related fashion and cosmetics accessories, from hair bows to jewelry to watches to eyewear.

Revlon does not break out volume figures, but sources indicated that it generated more than $50 million in total sales of licensed products in the last 12 months, with a distribution of 12,000 chain drugstores and mass merchandiser outlets. Executives reportedly expect to double sales in the next 12 months.

Now Revlon is preparing to leap into the center of the fashion business. The company is signing deals to license the name Charlie, its 1973 international blockbuster fragrance, seeing it as an ultimate springboard to Charlie brand sportswear and jeans.

Lynn Krominga, president of the Revlon Licensing Division, said the Charlie marketing will be aimed at younger, independent-minded women and price points will be less premium-priced than the Revlon branded goods.

"It's a mindset and an attitude," she said. "Next, we want to make it an apparel-based program, in contrast with Revlon, which is a fashion accessory program. We are speaking to several major apparel companies."

The company has already signed up two Charlie licensees -- Gruen Marketing Corp. of Exeter, Pa., for watches and Superior Jewelry Co. of Cincinnati, for jewelry that will be shipped for fall delivery.

Being a cosmetics company in the licensing business makes Revlon different from the usual fashion house on SA, Krominga said. One advantage is Revlon's pervasive market presence.

"We are targeted to women in the mass market. But we do have a fashion point of view," she added, "a fashion point of view without the designer."

In the mass market, the Revlon licensed products are priced on the same plateau as the cosmetics and fragrances -- the premium-priced level of the mass market.

"We target the department store crossover customer of the Nineties," Krominga said of consumers who often shop in drugstores and mass merchandisers. "People don't want the prestige, but they want a fashion look and they like our price point."

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