Property: 2 Grrrls
Owner: 2 Grrrls, Inc.
Concept: 2 Grrrls, Inc. was founded in 1993 by Trilby White and Lisa Reitveld. Their first product group was a set of hand-drawn mirror frames sold through art galleries. Based on the market reception of the 2 Grrrls concept and graphic design, a less expensive version of the frames was developed. Demand for the products quickly saw the 2 Grrrls range diversify for the mass market, appearing in gift shops and boutiques.
Description: There are four characters in the 2 Grrrls repertoire: Roxy, Looie, Tutti and Rella. Roxy, a ‘you go’ girl, lives by the motto `you can be anything you want to be.’ Looie, the wild one, follows her dreams until they come true. Tutti is a gorgeous girl who knows that `beauty comes from within,’ and Rella is a real princess who believes in love and fairytales. One or all of the grrrls appear on every item in the 2 Grrrls product offering.
Demo: Tween and teen grrrls
Licensees: NTD Apparel (sportswear, activewear, sleepwear, underwear); ACI International (shoes); Scholastic (books); Springs Industries (bath/bedding); Colorbök (paper and stationery); J. Franco & Sons (bath accessories/beach towels); Mary Meyer (plush); Home Game (head and hand, rainwear); Tin Box Company (decorative tin, filled and unfilled); Relevant Products (specialty apparel); and Calego International (backpacks and bags).
The Latest: The ink is dry on a deal with Scholastic penned in October 1999, but this month the property will wet its feet with a new three-book display in the trades. The first book, What a Friend, appeared in the August issue of the Scholastic Book Club. Hello Gorgeous appeared in September, and Soul Secrets is due to appear this month. Distributed initially in English-speaking countries through Scholastic’s distribution network, the books give the 2 Grrrls property a foothold for expansion into new territories abroad. ‘All English-speaking countries-New Zealand, Australia, the U.K. and Canada-are all really important markets for us,’ says Trilby White, 2 Grrrls co-founder.
On the homefront, the ink is still wet on a new deal with New York-based Xander to create a line of cosmetics, beauty and bath products. At press time, the line was scheduled to appear across specialty retail during fourth quarter 2000.
Potential: Underlying each venture in the agressive 2 Grrrls licensing program is a strong and unified message component: Be the girl you want to be; be happy and confident about who you are; and have loads of fun doing it. ‘We’re a relatively young brand, but because of the broad base that we’ve built our art style, our message and the culture of 2 Grrrls around, there’s a lot of places from which to grow. And licensees see that-it’s a real strength,’ said White.
If the number of retail outlets carrying 2 Grrrls merchandise is any indication, then the property is strong indeed. Currently, there are over 1,200 stores (mostly U.S.-based) carrying the brand, and the 2 Grrrls website (www.2grrrls.com) is home to a virtual store that offers a selection of the latest goods.
Other recent licensing agreements include a deal with Canadian manufacturer Calego International to develop a line of backpacks, messenger bags, plush totes and plush character backpacks. And the company will soon be backpacking to Australia, where it has gained agency representation with Haven to promote an apparel and plush program to major Aussie department stores.
Further overseas interests include an expansion into Japan, where talks have begun with manufacturers and retailers. Often compared to Asian lines from Santoro and Sanrio, White is looking to introduce 2 Grrrls to Japan primarily because of the success of character licenses and the interest in message-driven licenses in that market.
Will the Grrrls make the leap from page to screen? ‘We’ve had some entertainment people contact us regarding shows, both animated and otherwise,’ says White, ‘but right now, we just want to get really good at this first phase of licensing.’
Market Reality Check: Tom Punch, managing director at Australian licensing agency Haven, believes that the 2 Grrrls property will be a winner in the Australian market. ‘The gift expression market has been expanding for some time. Retailers and licensees find them particularly appealing as their success does not depend on movie or television scheduling, making them a stable line year round,’ says Punch.
Yet American success may not translate to all overseas markets. ‘Just because it works in America doesn’t mean it’s going to work in the U.K.,’ cautions Lisa Shapiro, director of entertainment licensing at London-based The Licensing Company. ‘I would say it will work if it’s not too American. You don’t want it to be too patronizing.’ She gives hope to 2 Grrrls’ expansionist dreams by adding that the market for cutesy tween properties is growing and drumming up a lot of interest in the U.K.