July 3, 2024

In our Team Spotlight series, we are highlighting teams across the company who are leading operational transformation, business innovation, and embody the Centric brand values every day.

Centric Brands recently participated in the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas; the Expo is known as the Superbowl for the licensing industry. 

We spoke with Meredith Weiss, Vice President of Licensing; Kirsten Valdez, Senior Manager, Licensing; and Melissa D’Apuzzo, Manager, Licensing at Centric Brands. The team shared their experience at this year’s Expo and the new opportunities that they look forward to implementing at Centric for continued growth and success. 

How does the Licensing Expo contribute to strategic planning for the next 18 to 24 months?

Meredith Weiss: The Licensing Expo allowed us to gain insights into trends, identify potential partners and explored opportunities through licensing.

How can we leverage the connections made at the Expo to drive growth in new markets?

Melissa D’Apuzzo: We aimed to foster collaborations and new partnerships and this event allows us to explore new business ventures and broaden our reach.

Meredith Weiss: Our team connected with a wide range of industry partners. We are excited to build new partnerships and exploring potential opportunities.

What opportunities for growth and collaboration emerged from discussions with current partnerships?

Melissa D’Apuzzo: We saw potential for new markets and product categories such as baby, which sparked creativity and provided valuable market insights. The excitement around the upcoming Wicked movie release highlights its potential impact for Centric, suggesting promising opportunities ahead in new categories. Additionally, the Expo spotlighting a resurgence in licensed products resonates with both retailers and consumers, offering opportunities for expanded licensing.

Kirsten Valdez: We’re excited about the continued success of stories like Disney’s Moana. Having Moana in our lineup, along with upcoming live-action releases, is a great opportunity for us. We saw the focus on building on our past successes, whether it’s beloved classics like Toy Story or new ventures like The Mandalorian, while also staying open to creative ideas.

What were the key highlights or most significant takeaways from the Expo, particularly in terms of new brand opportunities and industry trends?

Kirsten Valdez: The Licensing Expo fosters creativity and new ideas. There was a spotlight on brand resurgences. It’s a testament to the dynamic nature of our industry and the importance of staying attuned to consumer behavior and preferences.

Meredith Weiss: Our collaboration with Messi has sparked a new wave of opportunities for us. It’s not just about a partnership; it’s about a new way of working across the Company. This approach has led to exciting developments, such as our return to Old Navy and expanded opportunities at Gap.