Smiley and Walton Brown in Asia licensing deal, also links with Crocs
The Smiley Company has announced a major shake-up of its Greater China operations and has inked a new partnership deal with Walton Brown. The firm has become Smiley’s exclusive licensing agent in Greater China.
Walton Brown has been appointed to not only identify and secure new license deals and brand collaborations, but to help structure distribution strategies of existing Smiley licensees in the region.
The licensing agent is part of major fashion and brand management group The Lane Crawford Joyce Group, and is currently the representative of a raft of major premium contemporary fashion brand names in the region. They include Juicy Couture, Kate Spade New York and Brooks Brothers, with the company running 220 point-of-sales across 51 cities in Greater China and Southeast Asia for these labels.
Smiley said it expects to gain “tremendous opportunities” from the partnership and said these will include the MyMM App, a built-for-China social mobile commerce platform that connects customers, brands and curators.
This app has been built by Walton Brown along with The Wharf (Holdings) Limited and eCargo Holdings Limited. It is designed to offer “authentic and in-season fashion and lifestyle products from premium to luxury international brands and to target the emerging middle class in China.”
Smiley said its existing retail partnerships with firms such as Bestseller Group, C&A, MetersBonwe and VF Corporation have been driving growth in the region and increasing its retail footprint in Greater China to tens of thousands of doors. Pop-up stores with Liberation, and a longstanding promotional collaboration with MTRC, have also continued to build the visibility and profile of the brand.
But the new deal “represents an enormous opportunity for the Smiley brand in terms of category and market expansion, which is in line with the core business strategy to further develop as a complete lifestyle brand across territories.”
The news comes as the firm continues to be extremely active globally in signing new product partnerships with major names, including Anya Hindmarch and Colette. The latest is with footwear brand Crocs this summer to launch a range of Smiley-inspired Jibbitz charms.
The two have teamed up to release an exclusive line of expressive Smiley icon charms to decorate Crocs shoes. Crocs has signed similar deals with brands such as Disney, Star Wars and Sesame Street in the past.
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