In September, I had the pleasure of sharing the podium with Yehuda Shmidman, Chief Operating Officer of Iconix Brand Group, at LIMA’s inaugural Retail and Branding Conference in New York. Iconix is the second largest licensor in the world and, in the aggregate, the company generates over $12 billion in annual retail sales by managing and marketing a diverse portfolio of more than 25 consumer brands including PEANUTS/Snoopy, London Fog, Royal Velvet, Mossimo, and Joe Boxer. Mr. Shmidman also heads up global business development for Iconix and this year he was included in the “40 Under 40” list by Crain’s New York.
In this second of two parts, Shmidman discusses the role of private branding, digital and event marketing, and how Iconix is breathing new life into its more mature Iconic brands.
Spieckerman: One of the licensing community’s big concerns is direct-to-retail or DTR deals. Of course, you guys have set the standard there, but the other big concern is private branding. Do you see private brands as a threat to your model or as a complement? And where in general do you see the brand mix going forward?
Shmidman: A big part of our model is trying to displace private labels. When you have private label brands that retailers create, oftentimes they offer a great product, and definitely at the right price, but when they stick a name on it that has no meaning, it’s really not a private brand, it’s just a private label. So in many cases, our positioning is to use our brands to replace that. For us, it’s about marrying our great brands with retailers who have great execution. In a way, when retailers use our brands to the fullest, we are their private brand and they get the best of both worlds: exclusivity, control through their sourcing, and at the same time, the value of the brand. In that way, I see private brands and our model as complementary concepts.