Soon, your clothes, accessories, jewellery and school products may sport the original Smiley brand, albeit with distinct styles.
Smiley Company, which merchandises the logo worldwide, has brought the original Smiley brand to India. The company’s other business, SmileyWorld, created as derivatives of the original logo to express emotions, is already present in India. It is licensed to the Landmark-owned departmental stores chain, Lifestyle, and Splash stores.
“We have $1 million worth of sales through these stores in India and hope to double that in a year with the introduction of new product lines in kidswear and babywear,” said Nicolas Loufrani, CEO and founder, Smiley Company. “Season to season, we have seen 30% growth in sales here,” he added.
Loufrani is upbeat about this billion-plus market. “Of our 4.6 billion fans on Facebook, India leads on fan base. With the original Smiley, we want to spread our presence,” he said.
With the original Smiley, the company has a licensing agreement with Archies in India. Now it wants to spread its reach beyond the SEC A and A+ consumers that Lifestyle’s products target. “We will be looking at a different range of collections with Smiley,” said Loufrani.
Smiley is licensed and merchandised in 60 countries, across 20 product lines including apparel and accessories, innerwear, jewellery and watches, school products, home products, foods, cellphone accessories and publishing.
The original Smiley has been refreshed with the creation of designs based on style tribes, such as hip hop, grunge, skating, surfing and rock and roll. “From these, we create specific sets of designs, icons and silhouettes,” he said.
The Smiley emoticons was created in France as a logo in 1971, as a campaign to spread happiness. Its creator, Nicholas Loufrani’s father Franklin Loufrani, gave it to newspapers and radio stations to attach with happy, positive news. He also merchandised the logo for stationery, tee-shirts and with companies. It was only in the mid-80s when the name, Smiley, was attached to the logo. In 1996, father and son started the Smiley Company, which today is one of the 100 biggest licensing companies in the world, with a turnover of $180 million.
The company has two business lines: the original Smiley, which is licensed and merchandised as a separate line of business from that of the other business line of SmileyWorld. Loufrani has also created the Smiley dictionary, where words have corresponding Smiley logo variants, the online emoticons we use in our messages.