Over the past two years, lifestyle blogs that speak to young women have been slowly and steadily extending into branded products, sometimes through licensing or collaborations and sometimes managed in-house.
- Brit + Co., overseen by Brit Morin, launched its first significant product extension last September, signing a deal with Cheeky to produce a line of paper and plastic plates, napkins, and cups. The products, which were created by both partners’ design teams, debuted in Target stores and on its e-commerce site. Previously, Brit + Co. had licensed Crayola for an adult coloring book.
- Goop’s first licensed product assortment is a luxury organic skincare line with anti-aging properties, introduced last spring with Juice Beauty and sold in high-end cosmetics and beauty stores. Later in the year, the brand, overseen by Gwyneth Paltrow, added an apparel line called Goop Label, managed internally, with plans to release five limited-edition items per month. This venture follows a series of capsule collections with upscale designers such as Valentino, Philip Lim, Stella McCartney, and Carven. In addition, Goop has a fragrance line, also introduced after a series of collaborations (with the likes of Hugo Boss and Estée Lauder), and a publishing imprint at Grand Central Publishing called Goop Press.
- Cupcakes and Cashmere has an agreement, announced in 2015, for a line of clothing with BB Dakota. The range launched exclusively at Nordstrom and Shopbop.com before adding specialty stores to the roster of distribution channels. The blog, founded by Emily Schuman, more recently launched a bedding and lighting line, also available first through Nordstrom. Previous collaboration partners for capsule collections have included Coach and Club Monaco.
- Pioneer Woman’s tableware, glassware, cookware, and bakeware line, created with licensee Gibson Overseas, was introduced at Walmart in 2015 and has since expanded into soft goods such as tablecloths, aprons, and oven mitts. Last year, the Ree Drummond-founded brand also offered six limited-edition cookware items on QVC, featuring patterns that were exclusive to the network.
Lifestyle blogs such as these have a number of benefits for licensees and retailers. They have accumulated large and loyal audiences that suggest a built-in consumer base for licensed products. They have a distinct focus, sensibility, and brand image that makes them a natural for specific merchandise categories. They have developed an aura of expertise about their respective subject matters that gives their merchandise a sort of “seal of approval.” And they provide strong marketing platforms, which they are typically enthusiastic about using to promote their branded products.
That said, it should be noted that there are a number of well-followed women’s lifestyle blogs, from Cup of Jo to HBFit, that have not dipped their toes into licensing or collaborations to date. While some may be avoiding this step for strategic reasons, the relative dearth of licensing programs compared to the large number of potential blog-based brands out there suggests there is potential for more growth in this segment.
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