Lifestyle licensees didn’t merely look to the Dr. Suess book behind this year’s holiday blockbuster How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for home furnishings influence; they went straight to the movie set for inspiration. As a result, the Grinch collection, ranging from electronics to room decor, promises to be unique; from high-end ceramic to Grinch shower radios and Cindy Lou Who vanity sets.
‘They’re inspired by Seussian style. Nothing is square. Everything is round,’ says Rosalind Nowicki, VP of Universal Studios Consumer Products softlines division.’Literally everything on set is license-able.’ She says the style of the film directly correlates with what is popular in lifestyle licensing. Everything that is whimsical and retro, from the jelly colors of the iMac to faux fur accessories, translates perfectly to the Grinch film and accordingly to its lifestyle licensing program
Beginning in August, Suess fans can own a whole bedroom set dedicated to the nasty Christmas elf. Heading up holiday retail, high- and low-end Grinch furniture based on the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, as well as Whoville items based on the Suess theme as a whole, will hit retail. Agreements with specific retailers are pending.
Nowicki says that this year’s collections are inspired by a trend towards lifestyle brand licensing in general. ‘I don’t think anybody would have thought this five years ago…[branded] home furnishings is busting out.’ Nowicki says majors like Macy’s or Bloomingdales are more accepting of carrying entertainment-brand furniture lines. There’s a need to add excitement to retail displays that character-branded kids’ furniture can accomplish, she says, adding, ‘they’re seeing the business growing.’
Grinch furnishings by Chatsworth, California-based Uncle Howie Products will include a high-end upholstered rocking chair inspired by swatches of fabric from the film’s set, along with two upright chairs. Universal has taken care of the low-end as well, with New York’s Kidz Kraze signed on for an inflatable Cindy Lou Who line including a pink bed and chairs.
About ten licensees in total make up the lifestyle line. They include New York’s Baby Boom for kid’s room decor, revolving lanterns, cuddle pillows and laundry bags, New York’s Dan River for Whovenile Delinquent bed sets, In Zone Brands of Austell, Georgia for melamine tableware, New York’s Northwest for throws and pillows, Doraville, Georgia-based Shadle Enterprises for ceramic dinnerware, glassware, serving pieces, cookie jars and lunch boxes and Salton of Mount Prospect, Illinois for waffle makers, shower radios, toasters, hair appliances and mug warmer sets.
Nowicki adds the line will appeal to kids and tweens who decorate their rooms with kitsch items; Grinch green fuzzy picture frames, night lights and decorative pillows from Hanover should be a natural fit. Placement will include retail outlets like Claire’s Boutiques.
All products will debut in stores in Canada and the U.S. late this summer along with some merch in Europe, South Africa and Asia. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! hits theaters worldwide during the Thanksgiving holiday in November.