Concept One Accessories, extending its string of deals signed over the past year, has become the exclusive distributor for New Balance accessories in the U.S.
The agreement covers New Balance branded bags and luggage, including athletic backpacks, running belts and duffels, as well as lifestyle bags for men, women and children. The line features the NB signature logo, and brand elements from their footwear such as suede details and neutral color palettes.
“We’ve had our eye on the New Balance brand for several years now” said Sam Hafif, the chief executive officer of Concept One Accessories. “The brand is enjoying incredible momentum off of its powerful marketing campaigns, and high-end collaborations. It has quickly become the most aspirational of the large athletic brands in our market.”
Concept One’s deal was signed with Grown Up Licenses, a publicly held, Hong Kong-based developer and manufacturer of bags, luggage, containers and accessories, which is producing the New Balance accessories in collaboration with the New Balance design teams, while Concept One will handle the distribution. Grown Up is licensed by brands such as Caterpillar, Lego and Ellehammer, as well as New Balance, and supplies several industries ranging from medical and sports to construction and electronics.
The New Balance accessories will be available for shoppers beginning next July, in time for the back-to-school season. So far, Urban Outfitters has committed to selling the products. In addition, Concept One is in talks with Dick’s Sporting Goods, as the company targets key New Balance retail accounts.
The New York-based Concept One designs and produces an array of licensed cold-weather accessories, handbags, backpacks and luggage, and also has offices in Mexico and China along with a partnership in Canada and a London design studio.
Hafif said 2021 marked his company’s most active year in its 23-year history. In the back half of 2021, FUBU signed on Concept One to produce a range of accessories and distribute the products to brick-and-mortar stores and online. FUBU bags, backpacks, cold weather items, as well as headwear and other accessories are part of the agreement.
Concept One also recently signed deals with Brooks Brothers; Smoke Rise, a men’s streetwear brand and private label supplier that’s part of New World Creation Inc., a Korean American company; and designer Christian Siriano. Typically, Concept One is involved in licensing deals, more so than in distribution arrangements.
New Balance, which employs more than 7,000 associates around the globe, is based in Boston and sells footwear, apparel and accessories; owns and operates four factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K, and in 2020 reported worldwide sales of $3.3 billion.