Lifestyle Licensing International

How the Hawaii-based agency is going from strength to strength.
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Lifestyle Licensing focuses all of its time, energy and resources on a very select portfolio of properties.

Set up in 1996 by husband and wife team, Dean and Lona Berko, the firm spent the first six years exclusively representing artist Christian Riese Lassen. While this is something of a different approach for a licensing agency, it certainly seemed to work.

"We built Lassen's licensing programme to great success by achieving $100 million in annual retail sales of licensed products from over 100 global licensees," Dean Berko, president of Lifestyle Licensing International tells Licensing.biz.

In 2000, the firm moved on from Lassen and started to search throughout the US for new talent. Berko furthers: "During our search that year we discovered thee extraordinary design studios operated by highly talented designers; Kathleen Francour (Flitterbyes, Frou Frou, Angel Wishes, Kids at Heart, Destinations, Forget Me Not), Shan Ogdenli (Pampered Girls, Designs by Shan) and Gail Marie and Robert Barros (Gail Marie, Travel Dogs, Cat Tales, Penny Candy.)"

In 2006, the duo began to build the Pampered Girls property into a global brand. Berko explains: "Pampered Girls is now powered by over 70 global licensees and strategic alliances including a rapidly growing chain of Pampered Girls retail stores located in Japan and China."

Not only this, but the Pampered Girls brand is building programmes in India, Korea, Australia, Mexico, South America, Israel, Russia and Europe.

In the US, FAB Starpoint is on board to launch a wide range of products including bags, accessories, luggage, stationery, school supplies, rainwear, umbrellas and homewards.

With all this in place, it's no huge surprise that it ranks top for the firm as most successful. "By defining success as a combination of revenue, brand exposure, growth potential and prolific product extensions, our most successful licence can be credited to our Pampered Girls brand."

When asked his secret to creating this kind of success in licensing, Berko replies: "It is no secret, that a successful licence is generated through a combination of compelling content, creative product design, well established distribution, obtaining retail shelf space, product sell through and it certainly helps to have consumer enthusiasm and brand awareness."

In fact, the last year in general has been a very successful one for Lifestyle Licensing. During the past 12 months, the company has expanded its reach through alliances with global agents in Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Mexico, South America, Russia, Israel, India and Europe, leading to 2010 being something of a 'banner year' for signing new licences.

So, how will the next year pan out? "More of the same," says Berko. "Relentless and aggressive marketing throughout the world for the properties we represent."

This marketing takes on a very hands-on approach, as Berko explains: "We exhibit a every major licensing show throughout the world, either directly of through our global agent network. We also scout for new licensees by attending every kind of product trade show in the US and key product trade shows around the world.

"Through the years, we have established relationships and built a solid network of strategic partners and alliances with literally thousands of manufacturers throughout the world."

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