NEW YORK -- The licensing machine continues to churn out deals and dollars.
According to The Licensing Letter, a monthly newsletter covering the entire field, estimated retail sales of licensed products in the U.S. and Canada climbed to $66.6 billion in 1993, up 7.1 percent from 1992. Apparel produced under license contributed $11.6 billion, and accessories $6.2 billion.
Some apparel brands have been staking their fortunes strictly on licensing. Here, profiles of four well-known names that have made it big -- or plan to do so -- through licensing.
THE BONJOUR GROUP
"We signed our first license about 18 years ago," said Charles Dayan, chief executive officer and chairman of The Bonjour Group. "The company was three years old, and we felt that the name was getting a lot of exposure, but we couldn't fill the demand."
Bonjour was a department store brand until about eight years ago, when Dayan moved it to the mass distribution level.
"I felt [mass market retailing] was the future of America," he said.
The company stopped doing any of its own manufacturing in 1991. Through its network of licenses, the brand now does about $400 million in annual wholesale volume, Dayan said, and plans to hit $500 million next year. It has licensees in categories from girls' bodywear to outerwear for men and women.
Its current list of 36 licensees includes: Elk Brand Manufacturing, for men's, women's, children's and large-size jeans and men's woven casual pants; Franshaw for junior, misses' and large-size knit tops and bottoms; D&R Sales Group for domestically made junior, misses' and large-size woven separates, and footwear by Elan-Polo Inc. for men, women and children.
The most recent deal was a license for a line of junior, children's and unisex costume jewelry with FAF Inc. While Dayan said that the company isn't necessarily always "looking" for new deals, he noted that "there's always something in the cooker."
This year, creative director Ross Klein introduced a series of new ads for Bonjour shot by Francesco Scavullo. The ads, which will run in consumer magazines this fall, depict a blond bombshell model in various Bonjour outfits, with the tag line: "Cool. Smart. Sexy." Klein said the company will spend about $8 million on advertising this year, including outdoor ads in various cities.
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