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Last Update: Saturday August 19, 2017

Key Idea: Develop Multiple Sales Channels

Nicole Miller products are sold in her namesake shops, department stores and through special licensing agreement with other companies.   More...

Key Question:

A: 

Nicole Miller has two sales channels. It has the original core product, women's clothing, which it designs and manufactures and is sold in department stores and their own retail chain. And, it designs products such as handbags, shoes, travel accessories, socks and scarves which are made and distributed by other companies who pay a license to Nicole Miller.

The company's newest very big deal is a license to Bed, Bath and Beyond. This huge retailer will pay for Nicole Miller designed sheets, towels and home accessories.

Every artist wants to license his or her ideas and let someone else, like Bed, Bath and Beyond, make and sell the ideas. Funny but this almost never happens.

In fact, the reason Nicole Miller got the opportunity to license is because it had done the hard work of making a product and selling it and winning repeat customers.

Q:  What is the hardest part in doing licensing deals?

A: Choosing the right partners! We have learned here from others, a contract is not worth the paper it is written on if the person on the other side of the table is not a person with whom you will enjoy doing business with. Bud and Nicole even go so far as to say, "we have to like the people who work here and with whom we work." They didn't say they have to know they can make money. They didn't say they have to respect the other person. They say they have to like every person they work with.

This makes perfect sense because you are trusting this third party "outsider" with your image. The licensing has never been easy as Nicole herself took back much of the quality control responsibility when some licensees got sloppy. She told us you have to stay vigilant. You have to watch every step taken by others when it is your image they are working with. If you choose the right partner, things can work out well. Today over half of it's $140 million in sales come from licensing to others.

Think about it

Are there sales channels or relationships you need to explore?
 

Clip from: Nicole Miller - Fashion & Quality

Nicole Miller on her visit to her boutique in La Jolla.

New York, NY: In this episode we go to the heart of the fashion industry and behind the scenes of Nicole Miller, a fashion house on Seventh Avenue to meet the founders, Nicole Miller and Bud Konheim.  In an industry where even top designers have taken production overseas, Nicole Miller pieces all proudly wear the label, "Made in New York."

It's a stroke of genius for these times, but the reasons go far beyond patriotism. For Nicole Miller, it's all rooted in the fabric of the American entrepreneurial dream: pride of idea, of process, and of execution.  They earnestly try to make women happy and  they are key advocates for causes important to women.

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Nicole Miller Fashions

Nicole Miller, Founder

525 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10018
2127199200

Visit our web site: http://NicoleMiller.com

Office: 2127199200

Business Classification:
Fashion

Year Founded: 1982

Develop Multiple Sales Channels

 HATTIE: Just one block from the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla California, on palm tree lined Prospect Street,  the New York home office team visits the shop owned by Stephanie Lyons.

The tiny space is full of style and most important – it is full of customers.

HATTIE: What do you think you are doing right?

STEPHANIE: It's the La Jolla customers that we have. La Jolla, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe – they are fabulous customers. They are really “with it” as far as style goes – they understand Nicole.

They like the whimsical, they like the funky, they like the classic too. And she really offers that for everybody.

NICOLE: Everybody just loves Stephanie and they come in here to see her. And while they are here to see her, she talks them into all kinds of clothes. But they must like them because they come back. Stephanie just does really well – she does great business here and I want to support all my best stores. So, I am always happy to come out here. They go, “Stephanie wants you to come out.” I go, “Absolutely.”

HATTIE: So what do you think about the future?

STEPHANIE:I'm loving it. We just signed another five-year lease here in La Jolla, the same spot, this is a perfect location for us. It has just been great, her collection gets stronger and stronger every year. Customer: Isn't it precious? Oh!

BUD: So America is built on selling each other a whole bunch of stuff that we don't actually need to live. We don't need it. But what are we doing, we are selling each other the stuff because it makes us feel good.
 
 
 

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