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Miller Revs Up Wang’s Licensing

Laura Lee Miller has been promoted to the new post of president of Vera Wang Licensing from executive vice president as part of the Vera Wang Group's plans to bolster its estimated $200 million licensing business at retail.

NEW YORK — Laura Lee Miller has been promoted to the new post of president of Vera Wang Licensing from executive vice president as part of the Vera Wang Group’s plans to bolster its estimated $200 million licensing business at retail.

She will spearhead a three-pronged effort to build existing licensing revenues with ancillary products, broadened fashion licenses and enhanced international expansion of the Vera Wang brand, which generates $300 million in retail volume through its apparel and licensees.

“Our motto is, ‘Look beyond bridal.’ All of our existing licenses are bridal-related,” Miller said during an interview Monday.

Through its licensing deal with Coty, for instance, Vera Wang plans to introduce new fragrances geared for a broader audience and not marketed solely toward brides-to-be, Miller said. The same is true of the fine papers licensing deal with William Arthur, which consists of bridal-related products like wedding invitations, as well as general-use gift and holiday cards.

In her new role, Miller handles strategic development of all licensing ventures and marketing initiatives within the company and continues to report to Vera Wang, chief executive officer of the Vera Wang Group. Susan Sokol, president of Vera Wang, the apparel division, continues to oversee the ready-to-wear, bridal and dress collections, as well as the company’s retail division. She also reports to Wang.

Since joining the company in March 2004, Miller has lined up licenses for stationery with William Arthur, intimate apparel with Charles Komar & Sons and furs with Pologeorgis Furs. She was also key in nurturing growth of the designer’s fragrance portfolio with Unilever, china and crystal with Wedgwood, eyewear with Kenmark and fine jewelry with Rosy Blue.

Miller made an impression on Wang when she worked for Unilever Cosmetics International as president of Unilever’s Prestige division, where Miller signed a fragrance license with Wang in 2000 and launched her fragrance business two years later. Unilever sold its international division to Coty earlier this year.

In terms of potential opportunities, Miller pointed to handbags, outerwear, small leather goods, watches, swimwear, diffusion sportswear and jeans. The company is also “looking seriously” at branching into Japan; Korea is another area being considered, Miller said.