Island Ties adds sports designs to line


POSTED: Thursday, November 13, 2008

Former Hawaii news anchor Barbara Wallace has tied in to a big idea that keeps growing.





On the Net:

        » www.thesportsblock.com


» www.theislandergroup.com



Her Island Ties “;lei for your luggage”; suitcase straps proved popular in Hawaii stores with local customers and visitors - and now she has secured a licensing deal for straps with logos from the University of Hawaii, other colleges, the National Football League and Major League Baseball.

“;It is the very first luggage strap for licensed products,”; she said of the new sports- and college-themed straps. Some are now available online.

A collegiate licensing company she contacted told her she would have to buy licenses for all the colleges, the NFL and MLB, “;but I'm one person,”; she said.

The company referred her to Oregon-based Siskiyou Gifts, which already has licenses.

“;They own the licenses so (the packaging) has to say Siskiyou - Island Ties won't be on the packaging, but it is my product,”; she said. As such, she receives a portion of sales.

“;It works out great for me, because I didn't have the expertise or the staff and they have over 100 people doing sales nationwide.”;

Having heard horror stories, “;you go to the wrong company and they rip off your idea,”; she used her reporting background to do her “;homework,”; and she describes Siskiyou as reputable and honorable.

Wallace wanted to make sure UH's logo was chosen and Siskiyou agreed, as the school's merchandise “;is already a proven product in Hawaii.”; The company chose other logos for straps based on schools' prior product purchases.

The Islander Group Inc., the Mililani company that distributes her lei-patterned Island Ties, will also handle the UH-festooned straps. They will be in different packaging at $14.99, a slightly higher price to cover the licensing fees, and should be in stores before Thanksgiving, Wallace said.

Joining them at retail will be two new Island Ties designs, one, bright red with plumeria and the Hawaiian islands, the other, with a wave-looking, two-tone aqua background with swimming honu.

Beyond flowers, fauna and football, Wallace has also launched a private label business with commissioned designs for two resorts, Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont and Terranea Resort in Southern California.

Terranea uses the straps as a corporate gift for real estate clients, she said.

“;For the retailer or the business, such as a bank or resort, that's a new avenue, in terms of advertising,”; said Wallace. Travelers stuck at a baggage carousel will see that logo going around and around, just as she did, on somebody else's luggage.

The bright yellow Island Tie was on a duffle bag picked up by a soldier, “;in Vermont!”;