After a hugely successful tenure at the head of Pretty Ugly LLC, where she helped build the quirky yet much-loved Uglydolls brand, Alita Friedman has moved on to open the doors of her brand new venture into brand building, with Alita’s Brand Bar. The Bugg Report brings you a one-on-one feature interview with Alita, to let you know just what to expect from Alita’s Brand Bar!
First off Alita, congratulations on successfully opening Alita’s Brand Bar, you must be very excited to be working on this new venture?
Yes it’s quite exciting and challenging to start another business from scratch. I enjoy working with a variety of clients across several industries to keep things interesting.
Moving into the licensing agent space is obviously a big shift and a somewhat competitive industry, how are you doing things differently at Alita’s Brand Bar?
Rather than focusing only on licensing, our approach is to analyze brands 360 degrees and determine where we can assist our clients to expand revenue streams. For example, we may open the doors for collaborations, new channels of distribution, creative marketing strategies and selling brand content. We are working with new ventures as well as 20 to 50 year old companies.
You were at the Las Vegas Licensing Expo earlier this year in June at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, how was the response to your new company and business venture?
We were mobbed at the show. Our booth was setup by a famous interior designer from LA, who took the nature of our lifestyle brand content and created a beautiful yet very comfortable space. Everything was made with repurposed pallets and wood for an updated shabby chic look. We offered our client’s summer reading novels, entertained with wine tastings of Zipz Wines, had celebrity book signings and live artist drawings. The activity in the booth attracted many terrific new brands and prospects.
Your portfolio of lifestyle type brands must open the doors to some exciting promotional activities, can you tell us a little bit about this part of your business?
As soon as we returned from the Licensing Show we jumped right into Sweet Suite and Blogger Bash in NYC. We brought 10 of our brands to this event and it was all about promotion. Our guest speakers included the fantastic Anne Geddes, the co-founder of the gorgeous MZ Wallace fashion forward handbag line, Mobwives reality TV series stars. They all gave the audience amazing content and even inspired the bloggers to share quotes from the talks. Other promotions included highlighting Chicken Soup for the Soul’s new food-line with a cooking demonstration by Chef John and happy hour with Zipz Wine. Next-up is a magazine release party at the top of the Empire Hotel in NYC.
You mentioned to us that you were recently at a blogger conference over in the states, how were you able to tie some of the brands and companies that you are working with into speaking at the conference?
Mom and Dad bloggers are now an entire industry unto themselves. They are driving brand content and have evolved into revenue machines over the last 10 years. There is great legitimacy to working with many of these wonderful writers who have often shifted their career into blogging, as they entered a new chapter in their lives. We met with over 400 bloggers whose Instagrams, Tweets, Facebook posts and blogs include information about various brands, and often highlight some kind of offer or promotion for their readership. Some wrote for local papers, others hosted radio, tv or internet shows and some contributed to industry publications such as the Griffin Report. Retailers and brands now have blogger networks in place to get messaging across to a wide group… it’s organic advertising. I’ve noticed this combination existing within traditional advertising, advertorials, social media paid boosts and blogging to the market, and now also video blogging thanks to YouTube.
You are now working in the toy/digital space with Toymail Co LLC on their Mailmen@trade; toys and iPhone app. Can you tell us about this brand and what it is all about?
Well you can add an Android app to that list, as it just launched! Toymail is an exciting patent pending technology whereby the co-creators took kids away from screen time and allowed communication between an app and a toy. So people can send voice messages or push content right from an app directly to a kids toy AND the child can respond immediately. It’s really amazing and fun to use. I know college students and adults will use it too, just for fun because you can allow the recording to be in your voice or change it to a fun character voice. We’re starting licensing now to put the technology into new formats of toys, and to partner up with content providers to push out everything from music to educational info. Toymail is a perfect toy in the STEM space (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and was developed by a former MIT female engineer. It’s the first of it’s kind pairing wireless technology with an app and a toy. Brilliant!
You are also working with some companies in the food space, namely fine-wine and chocolate, can you tell us more about these new brands and how you are working with them?
Who doesn’t love wine and chocolate? We’re working with Vita Organic Chocolate created by a chocolate loving chef and her Simple, Clean and Whole lifestyle coach. Organic chocolate is actually a superfood and is a great healthy choice when you have that craving. We are working with them to expand retail into not only food store venues such as Whole Foods but into gift stores as well. The Zipz Wines are changing the face that wine is served by, using the patented Zipz glass that just won the 2014 Best Packaging Award. Zipz offers wine in a glass that is easy to grab and go, perfect for pools and picnics. We are helping to license out the glasses, expand distribution channels outside of the U.S., and even sell the empty glasses for home use.
Thanks for chatting Alita and for people who want to know more about Alita’s Brand Bar, where do they go to find out more?
We welcome inquiries for international interest in our clients, as many want to expand their distribution into the Australian market, Asia and Europe.