By C.V. Moore
A Boy Scouts of America licensing session attracted about 35 curious entrepreneurs to Glade Springs Thursday. Local manufacturers and distributors heard how they can leverage the power of the BSA brand to sell products.
To do so, they must apply and be licensed by the BSA. Reps from the Scouts’ licensing department shared information about that process and talked about the advantages of selling officially licensed BSA products.
From pocket knives to rifles to Christmas ornaments, the BSA authorizes, on average, about 2,000 uses of its brand per month. In 2010, these products retailed for about $50 million. Reps pointed out that there are 50 million living Boy Scout alumni that comprise the potential market for products.
According to a product perception survey conducted by the BSA in 2011, 89 percent of respondents saw the importance of the licensed product seal on non-official products. To them, the official seal meant a product was safe, reliable, collectible, unique, educational, fun and of good quality.
Business people can participate in the licensing program in two ways. First, they can obtain an official license for a BSA branded product and distribute it to local councils and commercial markets. Secondly, they can become a vendor and produce BSA and non-BSA products that are distributed by the BSA through scout shops, scoutstuff. org, and their distributor network. No exclusive licensing agreements are available.
Greg Winters, manager of the BSA licensing program, says some good opportunities for licensed products here in West Virginia include gifts and novelty items that are unique to the state.
“If you’re visiting from out of town, you’re going to be looking for stuff unique to the region,” he says.
Winters also says the BSA is looking for quality products that are innovative and unique.
“It’s best to just ask,” says Retail Business Development Department manager Rick Dials. “Don’t assume we won’t approve it.”
Judy Radford, executive director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, attended the presentation so that she can pass on information to entrepreneurs in the region.
“So many people want to know how to link to this project, and we don’t have a very good idea yet,” she says. “Now we can suggest this as an option. Over time it could be a very lucrative market.”
She says her office has hired a business coach and part of his work will be helping entrepreneurs with applications. She is even considering applying to the licensing program on behalf of the development authority.
“The other piece of this is we want to make sure our logo is linked with the BSA logo,” she says. “If we can do that, it’s extraordinary the number of Scouts that are successful businessmen. This is a way to market our region, way of life, and business parks.”
The application fee is $250 and application packets are available online. An application takes about two to four weeks to review. If it is accepted, then an agreement is drafted and final designs are submitted for approval. After that, it’s time to create the product and move it to the retailer. The whole process can take a year for larger retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, for example, so it’s best to start now in preparation for the 2013 National Jamboree.
A quarterly online reporting system tracks royalties due to the BSA on product sales.
More information on licensing, applications, and a monthly BSA licensing newsletter are available online at scouting.org/licensing. “BSA Licensing” also has a page on Facebook.
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