Loudmouth’s fashions exploded on the world stage at the 2014 Winter Olympics, with coverage of the Norwegian curling team appearing throughout the media. How much did Loudmouth initially have to pay the Norwegian curling team to wear its fashions? Nothing. The team – some of whom are golfers – were looking for a way to stand out and bought the fashions on their own online. When they exchanged some of the pants that were the wrong size, Loudmouth found out about the purchase.
“Norway’s Team Ulsrud has been fantastic for Loudmouth,” CEO Larry Jackson concludes. “They were looking for interesting pants and we were easy to find.”
Jackson estimates that approximately half of Loudmouth’s sales are online and half through retail locations at country clubs, sports and golf specialty stores, airports and menswear stores. He also calculates that 10 percent of the company’s revenue this year will be from licensed products, but expects it to increase to 25 percent in the next few years and then settle in the range of 25 to 35 percent. “We’d all be very happy with that kind of a balance,” Jackson says.
Among the golf products that Loudmouth is licensing are golf bags, golf umbrellas, custom grips, shoes and golf accessories, along with apparel for other sports, such as ski pants, board shorts, running, cycling and swimwear.
Loudmouth licensing also has extended the brand far beyond sports and into a complete lifestyle brand incorporating the Loudmouth prints and patterns. Licensed products now range from fashion accessories such as socks, belts and sunglasses all the way to luggage, bedding, branded Loudmouth wine and even a restaurant in Orlando. “It’s our first restaurant, the Loudmouth Grill,” Jackson says. “The name has been licensed by a trusted friend and restaurateur, and Loudmouth helped design it inside and out as a Loudmouth property.”
Licensing has been one of the key factors contributing to the rapid growth of the brand. In 2010, Loudmouth started handling the licensing of products itself, but it was “a bit of an uphill battle,” Jackson concedes. “Early on in our licensing endeavors, Steven Heller and The Brand Liaison agency approached us about representing Loudmouth for licensing. It has worked out brilliantly. He’s a tireless promoter that has been doing this for a long time and knows all the key players in a variety of product categories. He has been wonderful in getting our brand in front of big decision makers.”
“This is one of the most exciting brands I have ever been involved with,” Heller says. “The bright and bold patterns are instantly recognizable and generate tremendous attention. I think that’s one of the reasons the licensing has been so successful. The brand DNA creates its own instant attraction.”
Co-Branding by Loudmouth
Besides licensing of the Loudmouth brand to other manufacturers, Loudmouth has been active in acquiring licenses to pair with the Loudmouth patterns. For example, fans of more than 40 universities can now purchase game-day apparel featuring the unmistakable Loudmouth argyles and swirls in their school colors with the officially licensed collegiate logos. Loudmouth even designed a custom color print for Dallas Cowboy fans under license from the team.
But the ultimate license that catapulted the brand for women is Loudmouth’s Hello Kitty collection. Loudmouth coupled eight of its top designs with a custom Hello Kitty dressed in Loudmouth and holding a golf club. The Hello Kitty/Loudmouth product was so successful that Loudmouth has now expanded the Hello Kitty collection and added a new SpongeBob Square Pants design.
Join the Club
Another innovative marketing technique is Loudmouth’s exclusive club called “LMx” open to its most loyal customers. Members of the LMx Club receive exclusive LMx merchandise with designs and patterns that are not available to the general public.
For an annual membership fee, club members receive quarterly shipments stuffed with goodies – perhaps pants, shorts accessories, luggage or other exclusive designs along with a personalized letter from Jackson and Woody.
“That gives our customers a great, exclusive family feeling,” Woody explains. “We don’t know of any other apparel club on the market. In only a year since we launched the Club LMx, we are close to 1,000 members. The hardcore Loudmouth fans are very loyal, love the product and really are big fans. We’re trying to do something for them with this club to make sure we’re giving back as much as we can to our loyal customers.”