Easyriders magazine is still executing on a plan for a range of licensing deals in an effort to broaden its brand and revenue base.
Under new owner and president Pepper Foster, best known as the cofounder with his brother of denim brand Chip and Pepper, the 50-year-old magazine for motorcycle enthusiasts is moving well beyond the typical media grab for advertising revenue that’s being upended by the coronavirus. Foster said he’s just signed his first “multimillion” dollar deal for the magazine with two top-grade hemp suppliers, Big Top Farms in Oregon and Hemp2LAb in Tennessee, to have the Easyriders name on a full range of hemp-based products, like CBD and CBG.
“Where everything is going, with health and people starting to wear masks, hemp is going to be big because it’s so much better for you than tobacco and other things,” Foster said from his home in Los Angeles. “This is a different thing to do as a brand, but that’s what I’m excited about.”
Pressed on the value of the five-year licensing agreement with the two farms, Foster said it’s “well over” $30 million, but did not give an exact figure. He added that Easyriders will also get royalties based on product sales. Licensing is a major part of his plan for the magazine and turning it into more of a “brand” than just a publication for a niche audience, but the CBD license was not originally the first license Foster had planned. Ongoing fallout around measures to combat the coronavirus got in the way of some plans.
“Sure, I had some other product I would have loved to do first, but this is great and it’s a massive deal, one of the biggest I’ve done,” Foster said. “Especially during these times.”
The new license is for a full range of hemp-derived CBD and CBG (so all considered “non-psychoactive”) products, from topical creams and ointment to tinctures and pre-rolls, all of which will feature the Easyriders’ gothic-inspired typeface and be in packaging designed by Foster. He intends to have the product for sale online and in a range of high-end retail locations, be it upscale pharmacies, dispensaries or apparel stores, and he’s also looking to have it in Harley-Davidson’s more than 1,000 retail locations. This retail rollout will naturally depend on when such stores in the U.S. are allowed to reopen, but Foster is an optimist.
“At the end of the day the world has to go on, it’s not going to spin off its axis up into Pluto,” he said. “We’re gonna survive and yes, things will change, but this magazine has been around for 50 years and it will be around for another 50 years.”
With that spirit in mind, Foster is actively discussing at least three more licensing deals for this year, with an apparel brand and a shoe brand, and is looking for more possibilities. As for the events portion of the business he has planned, that’s on hold, but Foster still expects to hit his first year goal of $8 million in revenue and in the next three years get to $50 million in revenue, led by extensive branding efforts.
“Honestly, it’ll be tough but I think we’ll still hit it,” Foster said of the revenue target. “We’re setting the stage for this brand, a beautiful gem that’s just being polished.”
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