Seeing a link between slippers and sleepwear, 110-year-old New Jersey-based SG Footwear recently launched a clothing-manufacturing arm, SGI Apparel, to capitalize on the cozy connection. And as with its parentco, entertainment licensing will play a large role in the newcomer’s business plans.
‘SG Footwear has great relationships with retailers and with licensors, and we felt there was an opportunity to leverage both to obtain strong brands for sleepwear,’ Michael Diablo says. The president and COO for SGI Apparel has 30 years experience in the apparel business – 26 with children’s sportswear and sleepwear maker, Allison Manufacturing.
Diablo emphasizes the sleepwear division is not merely an add-on business for SG Footwear. SGI has a completely separate staff with the exception of Elisa Gangl, VP of licensing who now oversees the division for both the sleepwear and footwear businesses. Josh Wormser, executive VP at Studio City, California-based consulting firm Gary Caplan Inc. and third gen, pajama-maker from Chicago’s Wormser Company, has also been retained to help guide the new venture.
At press time, SGI was getting ready to announce its first boy-skewing entertainment license. Entertainment properties are at the top of SGI’s licenses-to-get list to fuel its boys and girls sleepwear lines, especially evergreens or new IPs with long-term prospects. Initially the range will cover fire-resistant and tight-fitting cotton PJs, robes and blanket sleepers in kids sizes from Toddler 2T to 16.
Current mid-tier and mass retail distribution plans could expand as the business develops, Diablo says. Also the company is considering getting into young men’s, junior’s and adult product. Rollout is expected to start by spring 2007, but it’s quite possible the first licensed product could make it to retail as early as holiday ’06. TA