Brands Inc

Brands Inc is the brainchild of the former founder of British street fashion label, Boxfresh...
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Roger Wade (pictured) knows a thing or two about how to create a successful brand. Especially in the apparel market.

From a market stall in Camden town, set up in 1989, Wade grew the Boxfresh clothing label into an internationally successful company.

The firm was a renowned pioneer of the British street scene and was the first to import labels like Carhartt, Gapstar and Penfield into the UK.

In 2005, Wade sold the company to Pentland Brands and used his experience in the industry to set up brand licensing consultancy, Brands Inc.

Brands Inc specialises in licensing and raising finance for UK fashion and music clients. Its first client was indeed Boxfresh, which it signed up with specialist outdoor apparel company, Barbour, an agreement which is still running today.

To date, the firm's most successful licences have been mid market brands. Wade explains: "Bench is the perfect brand for the youth market and Lipsy is a great girls' brand."

Examples of the deals struck for the Bench brand include mobile phone accessories, festival equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and folding chairs, stationery and more.

The key to the agency's success, it seems, is an initial understanding of its target consumer, their interests, lifestyle and hobbies, and then the creation of a licensing programme around that individual.

Clever marketing has also helped raise the profile of the brands Wade works with. Since his days at Boxfresh, he has been kitting out clubbers, DJ's, MC's, bands and artists - representing the products in the right arena for the target consumer.

Aside from fashion licensing deals, the agency also works with clients to secure direct to retail partnerships, such as the Timothy Everest fragrance lines in Marks and Spencer and the Zakee Shariff and Asos collaboration.

Despite Wade's impressive experience in the market (he is also a regular contributor to Drapers and is on the board of Cool Brands), 2009 has been a 'roller coaster ride' for the company, as the industry got used to the changes the economic downturn bought about.

Wade comments: "Due to the recession there are more brands looking for additional income, but finding companies to licence brands has become increasingly harder.

"In the end, both the licensor and licensee have to realise that high minimum guarantees are difficult to achieve in this environment."

Moving forward, Brands Inc hopes to establish itself as the specialist fashion and music licensing company. Wade offers: "Our area of focus will remain on the UK and Eire, but we hope to increase our portfolio of clients." His dream brand to work with would be Nike, so watch this space…

In the meantime, the firm is already moving towards its goal for the next year as Wade explains: "We have always believed that music and fashion go hand in hand. We have recently recruited a music associate from Universal Records to develop this side of the business."


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