Through a new licensing deal with women’s mail-order beauty retailer Avon, Little League Baseball (LLB) is putting some of its gift merchandise in the direct path of moms, aunts and grandmothers this summer. Starting with watches by Avon, bags and backpacks from Accessory Network and pyjamas from MjC/Logotel, the product line will be featured in 60 million brochures and pushed by Avon’s 500,000 U.S. sales reps.
LLB director of licensing Jud Rogers says the deal is the league’s first-ever catalogue sales effort, and it’s very much a trial balloon to test the potential of this distribution path. Various LLB licensed products are available through other retail channels, including Wal-Mart and Target, and a hefty chunk of apparel sales happen on the league’s own website. But the company doesn’t have a sole retail partner for its complete line, which Rogers is very much open to considering.
The partners narrowed in on gift merch because it’s appropriate for Avon’s customer base and because it fulfills LLB’s goal of connecting with parents and grandparents and involving them in the Little League experience. The products will debut in the Avon catalogue that goes out on Father’s Day, which also coincides with the beginning of the Little League season. Avon plans to make baseball the focus for this issue, including adult-targeted products centered around the sport as well.
Though Avon is best known as a peddler of cosmetics, it has been carrying watches and jewelry for 35 years. Lana Aledort, the company’s director of marketing in these categories, says more than half of Avon’s revenue comes from non-cosmetic products including giftables, home décor and apparel & accessories. Avon is certainly no stranger to kids merchandise, featuring watches and apparel sporting Nickelodeon and Disney characters as part of its regular stock. After the Father’s Day splash, LLB products will be featured in Avon’s catalogues indefinitely, and Aledort says expanding the range to include merch from other licensees is definitely a possibility if the first phase hits one out of the park.