By  on June 21, 2007

At the International Licensing Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York on Tuesday, Miley Cyrus bounded onto a makeshift stage filled with products from her new Disney Hannah Montana collection and posed gamely for photographers. "Hannah Montana," the Disney Channel TV show that follows the exploits of a girl who leads a double life, is popular with tweens, who tune in to see Cyrus play girl-next-door Miley Stewart by day, and pop-sensation Hannah Montana at night.

Successful shows such as "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical" have helped propel Disney Consumer Products" tween business to $400 million this year, and those sales are primarily driven by apparel, according to Donna Sheridan, vice president of apparel for North America.

Andy Mooney, worldwide chairman of DCP, said at Expo that Disney"s licensing division is expected to do $26 billion in sales in fiscal 2007, double the $13 billion volume of five years ago.

The Hannah Montana brand is an example of DCP"s aggressive new strategy. Rather than wait years to see if a show will succeed, Disney is developing products at the first whiff of a hit. It"s also trying to create franchises with lasting appeal. "We want to build brands that will have a life after the shows end," a spokeswoman said.

In December, DCP introduced a small Hannah Montana line of apparel, handbags and accessories at Macy"s. The new collection is broader and more fashion-forward, with chiffon blouses, priced from $28 to $36; screen-print tops, $20 to $30; embellished cargo pants, $38; embellished jeans, $38; jean jackets, $42, and camouflage-print skirts, $30. There also shrugs, guitar-shaped handbags and totes with Cyrus" image on the front. Jewelry features heart and guitar charms, priced from $8 to $14. The products will be available at Macy"s and other department stores in the fall.

"Miley and her stylist see the product," said Sheridan. "The product has to be right for her, something Hannah would wear and something Miley would wear."

A separate Hannah Montana line will bow in 3,400 Wal-Mart doors in February. "It will be the same product categories," said Sheridan. "We"re actually very good at differentiating between our retailers."Hannah Montana cosmetics, home decor and stationery were launched last year. New products include a Hannah Montana doll with an interactive stage and iPod hookup, television set, DVD player and iPod docking station. Hannah Montana-branded guitars will bow in the fall.

On display at the Javits Center was footwear from the Payless Hannah Montana collection such as rock "n" roll boots, peep-toe slingback wedges, slip-on sneakers and leopard-print ballet flats, all priced under $25. "Twenty-five percent of our overall business is kids"," said Matt Rubel, president and chief executive officer of Payless. "We"re the largest seller of children"s footwear in the U.S. This will platform Hannah Montana to become the largest label for kids between six and 10."

Disney is developing new licensed merchandise for other properties, including "High School Musical," the runaway phenomenon that premiered in January and shows no signs of slowing down, with a sequel due in August and a third film scheduled for a release in 2008.

Disney Princess, which generated $3.5 billion globally in fiscal 2006, is projected to cross the $4 billion in 2007. The franchise is reaching out to older consumers, ages 15 to 24, with the Kidada Jones for Disney Couture collection of loungewear based on the princesses. There is a Snow White wrap kimono for $100 and a Little Mermaid print chemise for $78. "It"s more highly stylized, with beautiful fabrications and details, and has more of an edge," Sheridan said. There also are princess wedding gowns by Kirstie Kelly, proving that "princesses can live at all ages," Sheridan said.

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