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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.

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By Lori Leaman

Chambers agrees that the collegiate market is very competitive and notes that the campus bookstores typically deal directly with the big players, such as Nike, Reebok, and Adidas. "It can be difficult to compete with them directly, so we have to find ways to stand out. As a small company, the competitive advantage we have in this market is not only our ability to offer quality designs with a quick delivery time, but that we have an intimate understanding of the customer and community being served," he says. Silkworm also established an online store to sell its apparel for the university.

Shops that work in the fashion industry are capitalizing on the popularity of the revival of retro styles of the 1980s, in both music and corporate brands. Consumers, mainly in the teen and young-adult age range, are sporting T-shirts with logos of popular cereals, soft drinks, junk food, logos, and album artwork from that era.

According to Donna Sheridan, vice president of apparel for Disney Consumer Products, two major trends in the children's market include the princess theme for girls and the pirates and cars themes for boys. Fully-loaded T-shirts also are popular. They feature 3-D elements, the ability to light up, and characters that appear in action poses all over the T-shirt. Figure 5 shows a sampling of popular Disney-themed apparel for youth.

Licensing essentials

So you know what licensed properties are, the various markets they cover, and the potential they bring to expanding your product line and growing your profits. Now you need to know how to go about snagging a license and what the process entails.

If you're going after the big dogs, especially in major league sports, you'll need to keep in mind that these organizations may have signed exclusive deals with major producers of athletic shoes, apparel, and accessories to be the primary resource for licensed products. If major league sports organizations do have contracts available to screen printers, they might only award a license to you if you wow them with a unique, new product that fills a specific need or is more impressive than the products their current licensees offer.


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