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Lucrative Opportunities in Licensed-Property Printing

(May 2007) posted on Tue May 08, 2007

Licensing is a powerful way to bring fresh, unique, and trendy designs to your garment-printing operation. Read on to learn more about this competitive and rewarding market and how it can help your business grow.


By Lori Leaman

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Have you noticed lately folks wearing "Vote for Pedro" T-shirts, "24" ball caps, and other apparel featuring catchy logos or phrases from current box-office hits and television sensations? Even children are stylin' in their Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer T-shirts. Where are folks buying this trendy apparel? Who is printing it? And, more importantly, how can your shop capitalize on the latest crazes in themed apparel?

The key to profiting from icons in the entertainment, sports, and music industries is to secure a license to print high-profile properties. The benefits of licensed-property printing are many, and numerous screen-printing operations over the years have enjoyed success from obtaining such licenses. Before you consider investing in a licensed property, learn what the licensing process entails, areas you can explore for opportunities, challenges you may face, and how to determine whether your shop is equipped to print licensed properties.

The early days of licensing

A licensed-property contract involves a property, in the form of an image, logo, saying, or character, and an agreement between the owner of the property (licensor) and a manufacturer or printer (licensee), who will apply the property to manufactured products as a tool to increase sales of the product. According to Charles Riotto, president of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA), New York, NY, some of the earliest examples of licensing date back to 1904 with the Buster Brown comic character, who was associated with a brand of shoes, and President Roosevelt, who allowed his name to be used on a teddy bear for royalties that would foster the establishment of a network of national parks. In 1929 the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) licensed suppliers of official GSA products.


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