Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012 - (Page S12)

Upfront CHARACTER MERCHANDISE Hello Kitty Charm Hello Kitty, who is said to weigh only as much as three apples, is a small character with a big reach. Since 1974, she has helped spread Sanrio’s ‘small gift, big smile’ philosophy throughout the world. Smiles never go out of style. In fact, Little Orphan Annie and her gaggle of friends once sang that “You’re never fully dressed without” one. The world’s affinity for smiling is probably the reason that Hello Kitty, though two years shy of celebrating her 40th anniversary, has never gone out of style herself. Since she was created in 1974, Hello Kitty, with her signature red bow, has developed such a global reputation that – if Facebook “likes” are any indication of popularity – she outranks that of Marilyn Monroe. Hello Kitty has more than 8.7 million Facebook fans to Monroe’s 2.9 million. As the global icon and flagship character of the 50-year-old Sanrio brand, Hello Kitty has helped the company make good on its theme of “small gift, big smile.” Sanrio’s diverse product line is manufactured through third-party vendors and sold in Sanrio boutiques as well as major department, specialty, and chain stores nationwide that include everything from stationery and school supplies to apparel and accessories to electronics and appliances. “The theme ‘small gift, big smile’ actually was inspired by the tradition of Japanese gift giving,” COO Janet Hsu explains. “When you see people, it’s a sincere expression to present a small gift. It makes people happy and brings about a very positive mood and ‘small gift, big smile’ was inspired by that.” And it seems the brand was solely inspired by that sentiment. Hello Kitty and the entire line of Sanrio characters are complete originals, started by founder Shintaro Tsuji. No movie, television show, book or major event prompted Tsuji to develop Hello Kitty; instead, Hsu describes it as a lifestyle brand, something that was created to stand on its own, which has proven to be the best foundation for the brand. “Within the Sanrio portfolio, the brands are very evergreen,” Hsu says. “They weren’t created for some specific purpose or usage. They were simply inspired to make people happy. Our brands have been around for a very long time, and the reason is because we have kept them very relevant. They change as the Sakar International Sakar International designs and manufactures a wide range of technology, toy, and consumer electronic products. Founded in 1977, the company is the manufacturer of Vivitar camera equipment and accessories, a market leader in youth electronics and a producer of licensed products for leading consumer brands. Products range from digital cameras/camcorders with related accessories to computer and iPod accessories, karaoke, audio, binoculars, MP3 players, clock radios, gift and toy electronics. For more information, visit  Photo credit: Forever21 for Hello Kitty 12 May/June 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012

Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012
‘Push’ vs. ‘Pull’
Narrow Your Band
Celebrating in Style
Give a Little Something Extra
Charm City Cakes
LazyTown Entertainment
Binny’s Beverage Depot
Vallarta Supermarkets Inc.
Cintron Beverage Group
Total Wine and More
Golfsmith International Inc.
Barrow Fine Furniture
Hedahls Auto Plus
Kopp Drug Inc.
Grafton-Fraser Inc.
Intelligent Office Canada
A1 Counting Solutions
New & Notable
Focus on Licensing - May/June 2012
2012 Preview
Franchising Facts
Hello Kitty Charm
Playing It Up
Saban Brands Powers Up
Mars Retail Group
SEGA of America Inc.
Major League Baseball Players Association
Universal Partnerships & Licensing
Remington Arms Co.
Cartoon Network Enterprises
Hybrid Apparel
Agile Network
New & Notable

Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2012