Pet Licensing in the Pandemic | Steven Shweky, Fetch for Pets

The Brand Licensing Podcast

August 10, 2020

On the latest episode of The Brand Licensing Podcast, we’re sitting down with Steven Shweky, President of Fetch for Pets, to talk all things pet licensing.

Steven is top-dog at Fetch for Pets and has been a leader in licensing for over 25 years. He started Fetch in 2008 and has licensed several CPG brands and entertainment properties into the pet space.

Listen to the full episode below, or check us out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Don’t forget to subscribe!


Episode Transcription

Emily Randles: Hey Steven. Thanks for joining us today on The Brand Licensing Podcast. How’s everything going?

Steven Shweky: Everything’s great. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

ER: Steven is top dog at Fetch for Pets and he’s been in licensing for over 25 years. He started fetch in 2008 and he has licensed several CPG brands and entertainment properties into the pet space. And our IMC team has worked with Steven and his team, and we just love all the work that we do together. So we thought it’d be great to have Steven on as a guest and talked to us about the pet space and licensing. But before we jump in Steven, can you give us a rundown on your resume?

SS: Sure. I come from a long line of family that was in the accessory business. So my grandfather started a company in the fifties selling rain gear and cold-weather products. My brother started a company in the early eighties doing ladies’ belts and I joined him while I went to college in the nineties. You know, I was selling fashion product and it was difficult. One is because I’m not that big of an authority on fashion. And two is that it didn’t give me a real significant point of difference. So that’s kind of why I looked at licensing as my answer. I wanted to walk into a customer with you know, something that I had different from my competitors to offer. I took my first brand in ’95 and I’ve had hundreds of brands since I was doing hair accessories and jewelry. I got into the cosmetic business launched a company called Lotta Love, and we did a candy-flavored chapstick, sold that, and went into skincare and beauty, which eventually led me to pet beauty. And I launched the pet company in 2008 with my first brand, Bed Head. We created Pet Head by Bed Head and that’s how I got started. And I haven’t stopped since.

ER: So we’ve worked with Lotta Love, but it was must have been after you sold it, but I didn’t know you started that. That’s awesome.

SS: A guy came into my office on a Tuesday. He looked like bill Clinton and he had white hair and I’ll never forget it. He was hilarious. And he came with an idea with a Tootsie Roll flavored lip balm, and I said, let’s do it. You know, I love the idea. Let’s get a hundred licenses and that’s exactly what we did. You know, we built the company in four years to over $25 million and then I sold it and moved on to the next project.

ER: We did Wrigley Double Mint lip balms, Big Red and all the Wrigley gum brands.

SS: Yeah, that was probably after me. I think the last brand that I worked on was Snapple.

ER: It’s such a fun space. So you’re in the pet space and must be a pet lover. So what do you love about working in the pet category?

SS: I had love for dogs and wanted a dog since I was a child. Apparently, my mother lied to me and told me I was allergic to dogs and that’s why I couldn’t have one. I found out after I got married that I was not allergic to dogs and then I asked for permission with my wife to get a dog and she wasn’t a fan. So I decided to start a pet business. One day, I just brought home a puppy and now I have two dogs and I love them. It’s really the inspiration and driving force. You know, the great part about being in the pet industry is it’s easy to sell product because you’re selling love. With the brands that we have and the consumer trust that we have, we’ve been really successful building on that feeling of love.

ER: What kind of trends are you seeing in pet products?

SS: I’d say that pre-pandemic and post-pandemic, things are a little bit different. There’s still definitely a focus on natural products and clean ingredients in product. Whether it’s edible or topical, sustainable product is still very important to the pet consumer. We’re seeing a massive growth in preventative care products. Grooming is probably the biggest winner of the bunch. We’ve seen crazy escalation during the pandemic. While other categories are returning to normal, pet grooming is still 50% above last year. Vitamins and supplements are also a great space in that area. There’s was also a huge spike in pet adoptions. I read somewhere that it was about 700% over last year due to the pandemic. People went out and adopted pets to make them feel better.

ER: Yeah, I definitely heard the adoption space was going up. I saw something that said now that people are starting to go back to work you actually have to train your pet to be used to you not being home so much. There has been a lot of comfort on both sides from the pet and from the owners when everybody was at home.

SS: Yeah, I kind of got the feeling my dogs were getting sick of me. I have one of my dogs that sits next to my son while he works from the dining room table and the dog sits next to him the entire day. It’s the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen.

ER: Well, it goes back to your point about love, right? It’s all just about the love and the connection. So you guys are currently working in the pet space and we’ve talked a lot about that, but you also work in the consumer products space as well. What’s the big difference between pet products and consumer products?

SS: It’s a much different landscape. The competition is fierce when I’m competing with companies like Proctor and Gamble and Colgate and Georgia Pacific and all these huge, huge companies. We have to operate really off the merit of our products because we don’t spend tens of millions of dollars in marketing and advertising. We’ve really had great success in this space. We found our niche that we fill and it was a tough road learning about this business. It took us a good four or five years to become profitable in this business, but now it’s been off to the races.

ER: At retail, you have your pet specialty and then you have your FDM. I’m assuming there’s a big difference in selling those. Any big challenges or differences between those two?

SS: I mean, the competition is a lot less serious. We’re dealing with companies maybe just a little bit bigger than we are and there’s a lot more opportunity to be innovative and bring new ideas to the table. There’s more runway to take chances for the retailers.

ER: So have you guys developed any in-house brands that you sell and distribute? And if so, what’s the difference between working on an in-house brand versus a licensed product within your portfolio?

SS: I’d say that it’s not our strategy to build in-house brands. We want to show our licensors and partners that we’re committed to building their brands and not our own. We don’t ever want them to feel threatened by our own brands, which I think is a big problem in licensing today. We do have our own brands in spaces where we don’t have a great licensed alternative. For instance, we had an in-house brand in the healthcare space called VetMD. It was great, but we did it only because we didn’t have an alternative. This year, we brought on GNC as our healthcare brand for pets, which is much better.

ER: That’s a perfect brand for that category. What’s your next big project that you guys are working on?

SS: Well, a big part of our business is working with Clorox and all their brands. They’re constantly throwing new projects at us. We’re their go-to company when they have a problem or they have an idea that they want to execute that they can’t do on their own. So, as you can imagine, I get a lot of strange things thrown my way. But we’re working with them currently on their initiative to position themselves as the sanitizing brand across the world. If you’ve seen in the news, they’ve partnered with companies like United and Uber and AMC where these companies are gonna utilize the Clorox logo in their establishment to give the confidence to the consumer that they’re germ-free. We are making some of the products that are being given out at these establishments. We’re working now with these huge companies more on a B2B level. It’s an all-new experience for us and a ton of fun.

ER: Is Clorox doing this through licensing or are they doing this just through partnerships?

SS: It’s kind of a hybrid approach actually. I’m sure you’ve heard their core business they can’t keep in stock. Wipes are out of stock now until April of 2021. They won’t be back in full capacity. So the CEO really wants them to focus on the current assortment. They’re going outside via licensing to expand that business. This is where we’re working closely with the sales teams and the relationships they have with these large companies to help. We work closely with them and keep them in the loop the entire time from a sales perspective. At the end of the day, it’s a licensing deal. I am so blown away by the scale of what Clorox is working on for this project.

ER: What a value added across the board, not only for those companies, but as a consumer. That’s great. Congrats. That sounds like a really exciting project. So, you’ve been in space and you’ve worked on a lot of projects and brands. There must’ve been some mistakes or mishaps along the way. What’s one of the biggest mistakes that you’ve learned from?

SS: I have a habit of taking on more than I can handle. That’s definitely one of the big things I learned a long time ago. When I commit to a brand, I make sure that I can be all in with every part of my business. I learned a long time ago that there’s so many companies that want their brand in the pet space. But if the brand doesn’t lend some measure of expertise to the pet product or the pet specifically, then it’s not going to work. That’s why you look at a lot of these celebrity brands, I don’t think any has ever worked because they have nothing to lend to the product. That’s just their name. I’d say that was the biggest lesson.

ER: Well, my next big question is what is the strangest licensed product that you’ve seen?

SS: That’s a crazy question! I really am at a loss on that one. I think I would need to think about that and get back to you. I’m so focused on my business. I’m working 18-hour days just trying to handle the increase in volume. It’s been insane through the pandemic. We are definitely seeing a massive impact on our business due to the pandemic. Not everything that came out of this was a tragedy. It definitely created a lot more business opportunities for us.

ER: And a lot more pet owners with a lot more love in their homes.

SS: A lot. I was reading some great research yesterday and it seems that the bulk of the ownership is coming with the Gen Z and Millennials being the first ones to acquire new pets in this adoption trend. Our market was more shifted towards Gen X but is now skewing a lot younger after this. We’re just trying to figure out how we need to do to adjust to meet the current demographic.

ER: I would imagine that would maybe even shift probably more in the future once you’ve had a chance to catch your breath. Those consumers shop differently and look for things differently than your Gen X and your Boomers.

SS: Totally. They’re not as brand loyal as Gen X and the Boomers. They are also more concerned about the environment and things being natural with limited ingredients. So , that’s definitely a shift for us.

ER: Yeah, there’s probably an increase inonline shopping too. Obviously, online has gone through the roof just because of COVID, but also with those consumers.

SS: I’ve never experienced anything like this in my lifetime. The online business is up over 300% since the pandemic and it was already up significantly even before the pandemic. The volume that an Amazon can do for one single product is way more than Walmart can sell. You don’t have a limited shelf-space on an Amazon like you do in a Walmart. There’s really a lot of knowledge and science that goes into being successful on e-comm. We really embraced it early on and we’re well-positioned to handle this shift to online shopping.

ER: That’s great. Have you guys seen a difference in your manufacturing for products that are manufactured overseas?

SS: Back in February, our factory shut down in China, because that’s where the outfit new outbreak was. And then by the time they were allowed to start manufacturing again we got hit with it here. And so we were experiencing out of stocks due to the China outbreak. And then once it hit here, all our factories either shut down completely or had our head to work and still working on a reduced capacity reduced staff. And so it’s been a real struggle here in the US to get certain products and anything related to, you know, these sanitization products like hand sanitizer. So it’s, it’s impossible to get a pump for hand soap or some basic bottles, you know, that quoting I’d one vendor, quote me a 53 week lead time on a specific trigger for one of our products. It’s huge. It’s, it’s a struggle. It keeps, it keeps us up all night and all day. And it’s definitely the biggest pressure cause we feel like we’re letting our customers down. And even though it’s not something that’s beyond our control, we still take responsibility for it. Sometimes the customers are understanding and sometimes they’re not, and it just puts us in a really difficult situation.

ER: Yeah. That’s tough. I’m assuming that’s where your, your 18 hour days are coming from mostly.

SS: Yeah, that’s for sure. Yeah. We’re focused much more on operations today than ever before. And especially, I think the pandemic has forced us to be more process driven because we’re not in person and can have these collaborative you know, talks and, you know, mentioned things in passing. I think that’s also one of the, the good things that came out of this. We were able to focus and reinforce ourselves operationally.

ER: Yeah, no, that’s awesome. And we’re feeling that as well, you know, just and we were always a remote team, but just even working with our partners and, and working on, you know, communication process updates. So I think to your point, some, some of the positives that are coming out of everyone’s adjusted situations.

SS: Yeah. Yeah. If you think about it, this pushed us so far into the future. Right. I was probably with a Walmart bar the other day and he, they estimate that this pushed consumer behavior up by three to five years. Wow. Yeah. I mean, think about that. Like now, today I’m more comfortable hiring people. I just hired today a person in England to work for me. And before this, that would have been out of the question, but now we see that things could work remotely and we feel more comfortable doing things like that.

ER: Yeah. Yeah. We made a hire as well. And I, like, we did a video interview, you know, face to face and it was different, but yeah, you just kind of like, okay, well this is the new norm and I won’t be able to see you probably in months. So welcome to the team. Yeah.

SS: I’m telling you, I hired maybe four or five new team members all done by video. And I can’t believe that I haven’t met them in person yet. Like, it’s unbelievable to me when I think about that. Yeah.

ER: A little culture shock for those of us that I know people are like, Oh, everyone, you know, loves working remotely. And we do love working remotely and you know, travel’s going to change and I do think it’s going to change, but we still are missing that connection piece. And can’t wait to get back to, you know, like reconnecting with our clients and having those face to face meetings. And then zoom, I do a great job, but there’s still the need to get back to some sort of connection there.

SS: Yeah. And I think that it’s working really because the teams in place ha were had that bond prior to working remotely. So the teams were already built at going into the pandemic. I don’t think that the model is sustainable necessarily longterm because you just can’t get used to working with someone without actually spending time with them. And it’ll be interesting to see how, how things play out. And I definitely think that there are some positions back and remain remote. I think people don’t realize how much they miss human interaction. And then they’re going to be really excited when they start to come back and see all their friends again.

ER: Yeah, that’s awesome. If people want to connect with you online and find out more or they have a pet product idea, what’s the best way to connect with you?

SS: Sure. You can just go to our website. It’s Fetch4Pets.com and there’s a portal to submit ideas or to contact us. We’re always open to new things. We love our products. We love making new products to make pet parents happy. And we’d love to hear from everybody.

ER: Perfect. And I’m assuming we can find you online? Do you have Instagram and Facebook?

SS: Facebook, Instagram. Personally, I’m a LinkedIn guy. We’re available on all the social channels.

ER: Perfect. Well, thanks again so much for your time today and your insights. It’s been really eye-opening just to hear more about how everything is evolving and impacted your world and the world of pet licensing. We appreciate it and we’ll talk to you soon.

SS: Sounds great. I really appreciate the opportunity.

IMC Licensing Logo Mark

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    Emily Wickerham Randles

    June 5, 2017

  • Licensing During Disruption: How Licensing Can Serve the Auto Industry as it has Served Others

    Disruption: The Only Constant Did you ever think you would buy toilet paper on your phone? Neither did supermarkets. Did…

    Stephen Reily

    May 1, 2017

  • 2nd Annual Licensing Summit in New York

    It was our first year attending the 2nd annual Licensing Summit in New York and we’re so glad we added this conference to…

    Julie Brown

    March 7, 2017

  • Brand Licensing 2016 Update

    2016 was another great year for us here at IMC. We enjoyed working with our licensing partners and meeting with…

    Emily Wickerham Randles

    February 6, 2017

  • 2017 Trade Shows – Tips and Tricks

    I can’t believe there hasn’t been a funny movie made about the trade show experience. You know you can relate!…

    Emily Wickerham Randles

    January 15, 2017

  • A product launch hits close to home: Introducing the new line of AT&T mhealth Baby Monitors

    As a licensing program manager, I always get excited for a new product launch at retail.  Licensees, licensors, agents, manufacturers,…

    Julie Brown

    March 28, 2016

  • Connect and Share with New AT&T Baby Monitors, Available Exclusively at Babies “R” Us

    Baby’s Journey and AT&T Enter the Baby Monitor Category to Provide Parents a New, Convenient and Secure View into Baby’s…

    Julie Brown

    February 16, 2016

  • It’s Cool To Be Healthy: How Marketing Saved Wellness’ Business Model

    Is cheesecake the new tobacco?  That’s a question asked that has highlighted both good news –the New York Times last week, Americans Are…

    IMC Licensing

    August 5, 2015

  • When Products do the Talking: Volvo Life Paint Says it All

    At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity only one campaign won two Grand Prix Awards (in Design and Promo/Activation), and…

    Stephen Reily

    July 15, 2015

  • The 5 Hottest Topics at Cannes Lions 2015: Women, Girls, Girls, Women, and Girls

    Last year Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg came to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, and boy did she make a difference. …

    Stephen Reily

    June 29, 2015

  • 4 Reasons Why Licensing Needs Digital Marketing

    Five years ago many of our licensing clients (global CPG brands among them) weren’t even using digital marketing and social…

    Stephen Reily

    June 26, 2015

  • Stories Beat Data: And Other Marketing Insights from Cannes Lions 2015

    For all the lessons technology teaches us, did you ever feel like it also ignores some of the most important…

    Stephen Reily

    June 26, 2015

  • 3 Proven Ways to Save Your Brand from the Brink

    FastCompany’s recent story “The Biggest Business Comebacks of the Past 20 Years” shared the stories of brands and companies that had returned…

    Stephen Reily

    May 6, 2015

  • Earned Social Media = Earned Consumer Trust

    Brands are constantly seeking the loyal consumer. Not the one who buys occasionally, but the one who follows through on…

    Emily Wickerham Randles

    April 24, 2015

  • Four Things Great Partners Do

    Batman and Robin. Brin and Page. Ben & Jerry. Some business partnerships are so great that they appear to happen…

    IMC Licensing

    January 13, 2015

  • My 3 Lessons from CES: How Tech Makes Great Products Happen

    This year’s CES (bigger than ever, and more interesting than usual) failed to offer one show-stopping piece of technology, but…

    Stephen Reily

    January 8, 2015

  • Rethinking the 4 P’s for a Digital World

    Since Jerome McCarthy laid out the Four P’s in 1962, we’ve been able to take for granted that a successful…

    IMC Licensing

    December 8, 2014

  • Do you buy “Charmin” or “Toilet Paper”? Category Managers Know, Even if You Don’t

    When you make your shopping list, do you think about buying a category or a brand? Even if you think…

    Stephen Reily

    November 4, 2014

  • Lowe’s OSHbot: The Robot Holiday Sales Associate

    When Orchard Supply Warehouse, a California based home improvement and gardening retailer, was purchased by Lowe’s last year, its employees…

    IMC Licensing

    November 4, 2014

  • Why Mobile Matters this Holiday Season

    My friend called me from Target last week. “I am standing between the Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations, what is…

    Emily Wickerham Randles

    November 4, 2014

  • Are you ready to buy a Chiquita-brand orange?

    Chiquita Brands, a former IMC client, found itself in play this year, with competing offers from the Ireland-base Fyffes, the world’s…

    Stephen Reily

    October 30, 2014

  • Private Label Means Growth – Even for Brands

    Only a decade ago, it was not easy to use the terms “private label” and “brand” together. But private label…

    Stephen Reily

    October 13, 2014

  • 4 Keys to a Knockout Private Label Program

    Gil Phillips, Vice President of Corporate Brands at Kroger told the Cincinnati Enquirer about their house brand strategy, “We’re not offering…

    IMC Licensing

    October 7, 2014

  • The rise of consumer as chief storyteller – and brands’ new supporting role

    The beginning of the end of storytelling, announced David’s Berkowitz’ piece in Ad Age last week. The end of storytelling? The…

    IMC Licensing

    September 25, 2014

  • Retail development isn’t just about getting into Walmart

    Every business that has ever developed a product dreams of getting on shelf at a Walmart or Home Depot. Big…

    IMC Licensing

    September 18, 2014

  • New channel strategies: Sometimes disruptive innovation is a where, not a what

    Our CEO, Carla Dearing, recently wrote about what makes an innovative product disruptive. Thanks to technology, we assumed for many years that…

    Stephen Reily

    September 4, 2014

  • McDonalds and Starbucks: How Both Get Coffee Pricing Wrong (and Dunkin Doesn’t)

    Kraft Foods recently entered into a license agreement with McDonald’s to deliver McCafé Coffee to a supermarket near you. While…

    Stephen Reily

    September 3, 2014

  • From Budget Friendly to Premium: Will Consumers Buy Into a Premium Priced McCafe?

    I have something I have to get off my chest. I don’t drink coffee. There I said it. I don’t…

    IMC Licensing

    August 24, 2014

  • 5 Top Licensing Trends for Restaurant Brands at Retail: Which Chains Should be in Supermarkets Now?

    Licensing restaurant brands into supermarket products is nothing new.  Brands like Marie Callendar’s (in pies and frozen dinners), TGI Friday’s…

    Stephen Reily

    August 11, 2014

  • Disruptive Innovation: Products That More People Want

    Less is more.  So the theory goes with “disruptive innovation.” A new product is disruptive innovation if it has something…

    IMC Licensing

    July 16, 2014

  • 5 Ways to Evaluate a Potential Licensee

    Licensing a company to expand your trademark into other product categories can be rewarding to your bottom line and strengthen…

    IMC Licensing

    July 15, 2014

  • Consumers Followed Their Noses: How Fragrance Ended Up Everywhere

    Is there any product that doesn’t come in a scented version?  Today you can buy not just scented candles but…

    Stephen Reily

    June 12, 2014

  • The Omni-Product Brand

    For 15 years IMC has been helping the owners of global iconic brands find ways to grow through new products…

    Stephen Reily

    April 3, 2014

  • Backing into Innovation: Capturing New Consumers for Hearing Aids

    While I was at International CES earlier this month I had a chance to meet with leaders of the hearing aid business…

    Stephen Reily

    January 28, 2014

  • Lean In to Cause Marketing?

    When it comes to business, the talented male professional is perceived as “boss” while the talented woman professional in the…

    IMC Licensing

    January 17, 2014

  • CES 2014 – Innovative Partnerships, not Products

    Last week I was one of the 150,000 people swarming around Las Vegas for International CES.  While the show has never…

    Stephen Reily

    January 15, 2014

  • What an Omnichannel World Means for Brand Licensing

    If you want to develop great products that actually sell at retail, you are probably already thinking about how to…

    Stephen Reily

    January 2, 2014

  • Starbucks, Kraft and the $2.7 Billion Divorce

    Last week’s LIMA Bottom Line featured an article I wrote about the recent resolution of a long-running dispute between Starbucks…

    Stephen Reily

    December 23, 2013

  • 7 Most Inspiring Products for Old People are Great New Products for You, Too.

    IMC’s hometown hosted the Louisville Innovation Summit last week  Aging care is a growth industry for Louisville (headquarters for companies like Kindred,…

    Stephen Reily

    November 18, 2013

  • More than Just a Hill of Beans

    Kraft Foods recent announcement of its intent to test market McCafe packaged coffee adds a deep, new wrinkle to the already interesting…

    IMC Licensing

    November 15, 2013

  • Keeping Your Options Open in Licensing

    Licensors with iconic brands often have to make tough choices about extending their brands in new markets through licensing versus…

    IMC Licensing

    November 4, 2013

  • Licensing at Tiffany’s: Not a One-Way Street

    On vacation this summer I needed to get my sunglasses repaired.  While waiting, I was surprised to look in the…

    Stephen Reily

    September 16, 2013

  • What Licensing Agencies Can Do For You: A Tale of Chocolate Cereal

    One of IMC’s most deliciously licensed products is Kellogg’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory cereal. The coco-brown box features the names…

    IMC Licensing

    September 4, 2013

  • What does the Local Food Movement mean for Food Licensing?

    In my hometown of Louisville – a city proud of its food culture in a state proud of its farming…

    Stephen Reily

    August 8, 2013

  • Licensing by Litigation: A Bad Business Plan

    Two large-scale lawsuits in the licensing world have recently been stopped by injunctions.  After spending millions of dollars on legal…

    Stephen Reily

    August 1, 2013

  • Paula Deen and Food Licensing: Why Didn’t She have More to Lose?

    Paula Deen, as a brand with great licensing potential, seems almost beyond repair.  While I can imagine strategies that would…

    Stephen Reily

    July 30, 2013

  • What’s Your Innovation Reality?

    What’s Your Innovation Reality? I was recently reviewing some notes from a talk I heard almost two years ago –…

    Stephen Reily

    July 24, 2013

  • Just Married

    Often times we describe a licensing partnership much like a marriage. The Licensee and Licensor meet, are engaged by signing…

    Emily Wickerham Randles

    June 27, 2013

  • Purina Tidy Cats® and Glade™ Tough Odor Solutions: A perfect match

    The partnership between Purina Tidy Cats and Glade Tough Odor Solutions has developed a scented cat litter which has customers…

    IMC Licensing

    June 20, 2013

  • Integrating New Products with Licensed Properties

    Integrating New Products with Licensed Properties Demands on new product development have greatly increased over the last decade with increased…

    IMC Licensing

    June 17, 2013

  • The Humanization Of Our Pets: Key Survey Findings

    The cliche is that pets look like their owners- but will they use the same products? The theory at IMC…

    IMC Licensing

    June 10, 2013

  • What Do Pet Owners Want Next?

    The pet industry is one of our favorites, and not just because most of us at IMC have pets of…

    Stephen Reily

    June 5, 2013

  • Sharing the Love of Brands with Your Pet!

    Pet owners are passionate about their furry little friends and they spend over $50 billion annually to prove it.  They…

    IMC Licensing

    April 4, 2013

  • What Makes Martha Stewart Such a Bad Partner?

    I’ve read lots of articles about Martha Stewart’s recent bout of litigation, but none of them addresses why someone would…

    Stephen Reily

    March 21, 2013

  • 2013 Housewares Show: Forging New Partnerships

    The 2013 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago is the largest housewares-only fair in the world with 60,000 home goods professionals…

    IMC Licensing

    March 14, 2013

  • A Tale of Two Cracker Barrels

    When I saw that Cracker Barrel, the southern-fried restaurant chain, had recently licensed its brand to John Morrell Group, a…

    Stephen Reily

    February 6, 2013

  • Why Does Licensing Love the Holidays?

    In the licensing world, most royalty payments are made on a quarterly basis. Any licensing professional can immediately tell you…

    IMC Licensing

    December 20, 2012

  • The Slow Death of Commission-Only Deals

    Truly successful brand extensions are the result of pairing leading consumer brands with products that enhance the brand’s reputation and…

    IMC Licensing

    November 26, 2012

  • Why Licensing?

    As advertising as we know it is faced with a rapidly changing environment, brand owners and brand managers are looking…

    IMC Licensing

    November 1, 2012

  • Reinforcing Your Brand Through Licensing

    Some licensed products are very much like the brand’s core product itself. They may be used the same way (like…

    IMC Licensing

    October 15, 2012

  • A Primer on Licensing

    Wherever industry regulars gather, they’re sure to discuss the world’s largest licensor; the world’s citizenry buys more than $23 billion…

    Stephen Reily

    July 27, 2012

  • Working With Licensing Agents and Consultants

    Licensing agencies and consultants can play a central role in the development of an effective licensing program. Whether your company…

    IMC Licensing

    November 22, 2010

  • Why Use an Agency for Licensing?

    Even if your company has an in-house licensing director or staff, there are several reasons to hire a licensing agency…

    IMC Licensing

    May 10, 2010

  • National Brands, Private Label and Licensing

    During a panel discussion about product innovation at the 2009 Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Merchandising, Sales and Marketing Conference, one participant…

    IMC Licensing

    April 15, 2010

  • Licensing 101

    As an agency that develops and manages licensing programs for our clients’ trademarks and brands, we often get asked Why…

    IMC Licensing

    November 8, 2009

  • Retail Strategies Beyond the Top 10

    Every day the list of victims of the faltering economy grows longer.  Circuit City (#32 on National Retail Federation’s, Top…

    IMC Licensing

    September 25, 2009

  • Beyond Royalty Revenue: Measuring ROI from Licensing

    In recent surveys senior marketing professionals say that accountability for marketing services is more important than ever, and that they…

    Stephen Reily

    September 16, 2009

  • Trends in Inbound Licensing

    In the licensing industry, attention is typically focused on strategies to license a brand “out,” extending a brand into new…

    Emily Wickerham Randles

    August 19, 2008

  • The Licensing Professional – Not One Size Fits All

    I cannot count the number of times I have heard companies talk about whether they should hire a “licensing professional”…

    Stephen Reily

    February 19, 2008

  • Licensing Agency Compensation: The Inside Story

    One of the needless mysteries of the licensing industry is the topic of agency compensation.  Although talented professionals neither gain…

    Stephen Reily

    February 19, 2007

  • Food for Thought (on Food and Beverage Licensing)

    Food and beverage licensing is everywhere. A quick trip to the supermarket will produce Nesquik chocolate milk, Oreo ice cream, and…

    IMC Licensing

    August 28, 2006

  • The Bankruptcy Clause: Comforting but Useless

    An experienced reader of license agreements would know exactly where to find what I call the “bankruptcy clause” (about three…

    Stephen Reily

    March 1, 2003

  • When Trademark Licensing looks like Franchising: Avoiding Legal Risk

    If anyone doubted that trademark licensing has become an essential part of brand management, the recent Annual Meeting of the International…

    Stephen Reily

    September 8, 2002

  • The Risks a Licensor Poses to a Licensee: How Can They Be Limited?

    Most form license agreements assume that licensees pose greater threats to licensors than the other way around.  Aside from the…

    Stephen Reily

    August 8, 2002

  • Licensing to Preserve Trademark Ownership

    As all IP counsel know, registration of a trademark depends on that trademark’s use.  A trademark cannot be reserved indefinitely…

    Stephen Reily

    July 9, 2002

  • Trademarks Around the Edges

    Many years ago, companies that made a branded consumer product thought they did only one thing: make that product.  Their…

    Stephen Reily

    March 9, 2002

  • Watch What the Licensor Does, Not What it Says

    Hiring the best trademark counsel – and getting them to draft the best possible license agreement – will not alone…

    Stephen Reily

    March 9, 2002

  • How Accountants Will Change the Face of Trademark Licensing

    As the licensing industry frets about whether the biggest event of the year will be the performance of Harry Potter…

    Stephen Reily

    November 9, 2001

  • License Agreements: Partnerships Worth Getting Right

    Whenever you see a licensor and licensee in litigation with each other you should assume that something has gone wrong…

    Stephen Reily

    September 9, 2001

  • How Many People Does it take to Screw in a Trademark Licensing Agreement

    Because so many brand owners fail to appreciate how important licensing can be for their brand, many of those who…

    Stephen Reily

    August 9, 2001

  • Developing Branded Consumer Products like Consumer Products

    Last month I described how companies find themselves distributing or authorizing branded products that either weaken the protection of their…

    Stephen Reily

    July 14, 2001

  • Why Most Companies Have Too Many Licensors

    If you looked to a corporation’s internal licensing department for evidence of trademark usage and enforcement, as well as development…

    Stephen Reily

    May 20, 2001

  • Licensing Corporate Brands and Trademarks: Knowing What it Should Cost

    As someone who runs a licensing agency for the owners of brands and trademarks, I can be expected to argue…

    Stephen Reily

    February 19, 2001

Services

Licensing is a relationship not merely between brands, but among people. At IMC, we build and nurture both of those relationships while delivering top-notch customer care that treats — and protects — your brand as if it were our own.

About Us

We’re committed to fostering dynamic brand alliances. Often those alliances are born from one brand’s need and another’s ability to meet that need. The IMC team are experts at recognizing and creating those opportunities, but our real expertise is people. Standing side by side, as consultants, partners, peers, and as friends, we’re driven by a singular purpose: creating a smart idea.