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Brand Matters Widening its Scope

Ellen Tracy by Alok.Ellen Tracy by Alok.
NEW YORK - Three-year-old Brand Matters is widening its scope with its first wave of international brand introductions outside the North American market cuing up to launch this spring.
     Brand Matters owns the Ellen Tracy and Caribbean Joe brands. It also works with Linens 'N Things, Carlos Falchi, Field and Stream, Cloudveil and Design Within Reach on business strategies and licensing activities.
     It now works with 50 licensees for its own brands and another 50 or so for outside brands in the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to Rick Platt, president.
     Now Brand Matters is setting its sights on Europe. Recent developments include:
     • Licensing Welspun/Christy to distribute Caribbean Joe textiles in Europe. Beach products will launch this spring with a major UK retailer. (WestPoint distribution.)
     • Signing with Li and Fung to become the global licensee for Carlos Falchi, including home. Home products are expected to launch in spring 2013 at department and specialty stores.
     • Contracting Alok Industries and Bolan Trading for the Ellen Tracy Home licenses. Bolan will show Ellen Tracy bath and beach towels this week at Heimtextil. Alok will handle window and bedding. The first shipments to U.S. and Canadian department and specialty stores go out this spring.
     Brand Matters is also working with the owners of Linens 'N Things' intellectual property on strategies for expanding the brand, which could include store-in-store concepts, outlets or branded product, Platt said.
     "It's a great name," said Platt. "The goal is to find a U.S. or an international partner to build it out."
     LNT currently exists as an ecommerce operation. The brand was also licensed to Hudson's Bay for product and is carried in that company's Home Outfitters stores in Canada as well as Lord & Taylor's two freestanding home stores in the United States, which share the same ownership.
     "We're talking about this concept that we have a brand name that's so well-known and how do we maximize it," said Platt.
     The licensing/brand development industry has changed since the economic downturn, he said. The old royalty standards no longer apply and rigidity has gone out the window.
     "All I want to do is share on the upside. If it doesn't work we can both get out," he said. "You have to be flexible."

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