Interview with Rick Platt

Face2Face
Rick Platt
Rick Platt
Group President
Sequential Brands Group
Sequential Brands Group

Marketing, advertising and publicity are very important for the success of a brand
Rick Platt, Group President at Sequential Brands Group, Inc. talks about various aspect of marketing and licensing of clothing brands with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Ilin Mathew. Synopsis: Sequential Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:SQBG) owns, promotes, markets, and licenses a portfolio of consumer brands that presently includes William Rast, People's Liberation, DVS, Heelys, Caribbean Joe, Ellen Tracy, Revo and The Franklin Mint. Rick Platt has over 20 years of experience and success in Brand Management, licensing, merchandising, marketing and strategic direction. Rick started his career in retail, first with May Department Stores, rising to General Manager, then Ames Department Stores, rising to Merchandise Manager of Textiles. After 2 years in wholesale, Rick returned to the licensing business as Managing Director of Pillowtex, then a new licensing company that owned some of the largest textile brands in the industry - Cannon, Royal Velvet, Fieldcrest and Charisma. After 3 years of successfully licensing all 4 brands into the Home market as full lifestyle brands, Pillowtex was sold to Iconix. Next, Rick became President of the Waverly Home business. After that, Rick joined Brand Matter, the entity that owned both Ellen Tracy & Caribbean Joe, as President. Excerpts:

Sequential Brands Group Inc. (Nasdaq:SQBG) has a combined experience of 65 years in managing and licensing a large-scale and diversified portfolio of consumer brands. What is your take on preserving the brand's timeless heritage and expanding the consumer base?

Sequential Brands Group Inc. (Nasdaq:SQBG) is a pure-play brand management and licensing company. We own eight consumer brands that generate approximately US$1 billion in annual retail sales and we license them to world class partners, either retailers or vendor partners, who then make the product and sell them in the market place. The biggest concern or the biggest thing we focus on is making sure that we find the best partners for the business who make sense for each particular brand. Every brand comes with its own heritage and its own DNA so our job is to build on that with great partners, with great retailers and new product categories. To preserve the brand heritage and to extend the customer base, the best thing for us is to identify and bring on board the best partners who understand the brand so that we can eventually grow up. Once we have the right partnership in place, the extension comes from moving into new logical product categories and territories that extend the brand. For instance, a women's brand can launch accessories, scarves, footwear, etc. as part of its extension plan.

What advantages do vertically-integrated textile companies have over other firms that are engaged in production of only fabrics or garments?

Again, we are a licensing company so for us a vertically integrated partner is a better partner than someone who is only focusing on certain products. A company that can source the product, design the product, package the product, sell the product nationally or internationally, and market the product along with us are certainly better partners.

Q 3. You have once said, "What began as a women's blouse company has evolved to an offering of over 30 product categories, experiencing 4 years of consecutive double-digit retail sales growth." Can you comment on the strength of your balance sheet at this point, and are there any areas that you are working to improve right now?

The areas we consistently look to improve on for all of our brands is do we have the right licensing partner, are they appropriate for the brand, what new categories can be included and then exploring those new categories. With respect to our women's fashion brand Ellen Tracy, we are heavily focusing on international expansion. We have a very significant business in Korea; we are moving to Europe, we are expanding to Mexico and we are working on business opportunities in Asia and Australia.
Published on: 05/06/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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