A PREMIER LICENSING & BRAND MANAGEMENT AGENCY

The Brand Liaison

Origin and Pronounciation >

What is The Brand Liaison?

The Brand Liaison is a top-tier licensing and brand management agency focused on creating new revenue streams for our clients through licensing, strategic partnerships and other brand extension opportunities.

For licensors, our goal is to commercialize opportunities that will extend our clients’ brand equity into new product categories to maximize their licensing potential.

For licensees, we assist manufacturers in acquiring brands and developing strong licensing programs in order to create long term licensing and retail success.

Representing both licensors and licensees, our team of seasoned “liaisons” has extensive experience in developing successful brand extension and licensing programs. Our collective experience includes activities with numerous high profile brands including lifestyle apparel brands such as Lacoste, Mudd Jeans, Nautica, Playboy, Liz Claiborne, Geoffrey Beene, Gloria Vanderbilt, Laura Ashley, JEEP, Converse and Skechers, entertainment giants such as Disney, Warner Bros., and New Line Cinema, and sports licensing with the NFL, NBA, NCAA, FIFA World Cup, and many more.

We have also worked with major retailers such as Macy’s, Target, Walmart, TJX Group, Hot Topic, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Rooms To Go, Jo-Ann’s, David’s Bridal, HSN, QVC and many others.

We use our extensive network and relationships to build strong partnerships among brand owners, manufacturers and key retailers. By creating mutually beneficial relationships among all of the participants in the brand extension process, we are able to create innovative licensing and retail programs that bring long term value to our clients.

Our Team

ourteam

With over 200 years of combined experience, The Brand Liaison team is one of the industry’s most diverse and talented.

Click on the names to the left to view more information about each of our team members.

Steven HellerSteven W. Heller, Esq.

“The Professor”

With degrees in both law and accounting, and 25 years in licensing and business development, Steven combined his vision, experience and strong industry contacts to create The Brand Liaison. Since its formation in 2011, The Brand Liaison has quickly gained prominence as one of the licensing industry’s leading boutique agencies, with a stellar reputation and strong management team.  The Brand Liaison staff is among the most diverse in the industry with experts across a broad range of product classifications.

Throughout his 25 year career, Steven has been active in all aspects of intellectual property, including the worldwide licensing and enforcement of various world famous properties, representing licensors and licensees in deals involving fashion brands such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Nautica, Gitano, Oleg Cassini and even Donald Trump, properties owned by Disney, MGM, Warner Brothers, the NFL, NBA, NCAA, and FIFA. As part of these licensing programs and brand extension strategies, he has also worked with major retailers such as Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Hot Topic, Jo-Ann’s, David’s Bridal, and many others.

In addition to his strong negotiation skills and ability to craft business deals advantageous to all parties, Steven is able to utilize his creative and entrepreneurial skills to provide guidance in brand development and product development. “Based on our deep rolodex and our collective experience with thousands of companies, we are able to quickly identify our clients’ core competencies, as well as their business needs.  We are then able to create successful business relationships by matching our clients’ needs, with companies that specialize in that area.”

Also known as “The Professor,” Steven is a renowned public speaker and a professor of business and law at both the graduate and undergraduate level. He has conducted seminars and lectures on business and law topics such as trademarks and licensing, franchising and international business. He is an author and presenter of seminars on “Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights” and “How to Use Licensing and Franchising as a Means of Business Expansion.“

Steven graduated cum laude in the top 5% of his class at Fordham Law School, 1991 and graduated SUNY Albany in 1987, with dual major in Accounting and Business Administration. He is a licensed attorney and member of bar in the state of New York.

karenKaren Diamond

“Executive Producer”

Karen Diamond is a Wall Street Journal featured licensing specialist with close to 30 years experience in the licensing industry. Karen has a reputation for developing and executing highly focused, goal oriented licensing strategies individually tailored to each client. For seven years, Karen was a co-founder of Synergy Licensing, a leading boutique licensing agency since 2008.

In 1995, Karen formed Karen Diamond & Associates (KDA), representing The Pillsbury Company for strategic planning, management, and implementation of the licensing program including the Pillsbury brand and logo, the ever popular Doughboy character, Green Giant, Little Sprout and the Old El Paso trademarks.  Under Karen’s direction, the Pillsbury licensing program grew from 4 initial licensees to over 45 companies.  With more than 500 licensed products in the marketplace, the licensing industry still considers the Pillsbury program a model for successful corporate programs, having been nominated for several industry excellence awards  including winning the coveted, “Licensee of the Year” award by its kitchen textile licensee for its superior execution and distribution of the Pillsbury product line and Lechter’s nomination for the LIMA “Retailer of the Year” for its comprehensive integrative Pillsbury promotion.

Prior to forming KDA, Karen worked for companies including Warner Bros. Consumer Products (Looney Tunes, Batman, Superman, Pillsbury, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, Baskin Robbins, 7UP, etc.), Liz Claiborne and Cole Haan.  At WBCP, Karen was profiled by the industry publication, Home Furnishings Daily (HFD, now HFN), with a cover story featuring her innovative and ground breaking Looney Tunes licensing program. Having worked directly for Liz herself, at Liz Claiborne, Karen developed a keen aesthetic for fashion and an impeccable eye for detail.

With such a strong, diverse licensing background, Karen understands the nuances of both protecting and enhancing brand imagery through effective and cohesive licensing.  She is an excellent communicator who has the expertise and proven track record to create and develop successful licensing programs.

kateyKatey Gabrielson

“Jill of All Trades”

Katey Gabrielson is an accomplished licensing executive who has held key positions related to branding, licensing and business development, from both the perspective of licensing agent and brand owner at some of the world’s most recognized and beloved brands.

With a work pedigree based on multimillion dollar consumer goods sales, Katey has shown an innate ability to successful license brands across various industries and retail placement, including specialties in apparel, accessories, footwear, and toys. She played a key role in the expansion of the Ty Beanie Babies Brand in the mid to late 1990s and later as Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Toy Island, a division of Li & Fung USA, where she was recognized for her creative and energetic leadership.  Prior to joining The Brand Liaison, Katey held senior management positions at Compass and Prominent Global.

Over the past 20+ years, Katey’s experience has included licensing and brand development with companies and brands such as Fox, Warner Bros., Sanrio, Children’s Television Workshop, Disney, Nickelodeon, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Skecher’s, EA Sports, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Harley Davidson, Elvis Presley Entertainment, Ty, Inc., Mattel, Hasbro, TOPPS Trading Cards, NASCAR, Thomas Kinkade, Rachel Hale, Frigidaire, Fuzzy Nation, and Tutti-Cuti.  Most recently Ms. Gabrielson has been the principle player in licensing and merchandising for megastar illusionist Criss Angel with placement of multimillion dollar retail toy programs at Walmart, Walgreen’s, Amazon and Barne’s and Noble.

At The Brand Liaison, Katey is a member of the company’s senior management team and leads new business initiatives.   She is also responsible for managing licensing for several of the brands we represent and is a key liaison to major retail partners including Kmart/Sears, Target, Justice, Kohl’s, Walgreens, CVS, Best Buy, and Federated Department Stores’ Macy’s and Bloomingdales. Katey prides herself on her dedication to expanding placement of intellectual property, while maintaining a conservative hold on brand assurance, brand integrity and partner selection.

marcyMarcy Silverman

“Camp Mom”

Marcy Silverman is a partner in the Creatif Licensing Division of The Brand Liaison leading our representation of trend-setting designers and classic artists.  Marcy specializes in providing brand and celebrity talent to manufactures in various industries including Gift, Home, Housewares, Toys and Apparel. 

Marcy is a seasoned licensing professional with over 25 years of experience who has built her career and reputation based on initiative, strategic and creative thinking, strong leadership and results oriented hands on approach.  She is a brand builder delivering effective results in developing talent, trend forecasting, product development and marketing.  Marcy brings key insight into today’s retail environment with her background as designer, manufacturer and principal of Buffalo Rome a product design firm.

Throughout her career, she has consistently forged strong relationships with major giftware, stationery, party goods, toys, collectibles, publishing, apparel, textiles, tableware and home furnishings manufacturers. such as Gibson USA, Town and Country Home, Fiesta Toys, Demdaco, Mohawk, Design Design, Leaning Tree, CR Gibson, Creative Converting, Spectrix Fabric. Marcy’s licensing achievements have culminated in the sales of thousands of SKU’s and her direction has influenced trends in a broad range of products and markets.

Marcy understands the importance of teamwork, collaboration and a comprehensive knowledge of today’s trend-setting environment.  We call her the Ring Leader because of her infectious spirit and an innate leadership abilities.

Marcy received her degrees in Psychology and Sociology from University of Vermont and Bennington College.

paulPaul Cohen

“PC : Always Politically Correct”

Paul Cohen is a partner in the Creatif Licensing Division of The Brand Liaison leading our representation of trend-setting designers and classic artists. 

As founder of Creatif Licensing, Paul brings over 25 years of experience in professional brand management and international licensing programs.   Among numerous accolades, Paul achieved great notoriety from his successful worldwide licensing program for the Moppets, and was responsible for the establishment and growth of the multi-million dollar Mary Engelbreit enterprise, including the brand launch and the attracting the first 40+ licensees.

Currently, our Creatif division provides a broad range of artistic talent to dozens of active licensees responsible for manufacturing licensed products in all the major industries including giftware, stationery, party goods, toys, collectibles, publishing, apparel, textiles, tableware and home furnishings.    Paul is responsible for ensuring that we maintain strong relationships with our manufacturing partners, as he understands that these relationships are the key to our long term success. 

Paul has appeared on TV with Morley Safer as a Licensing expert, and has lectured at the Licensing show, Art Expo, Surtex.  He is an industry expert referenced in the Licensing Royalty Rate publication. Paul has an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic institute and marketing background.

sandySandy Goldman

“Force Majeur”

Mr. Sandy Goldman brings over 25 years of experience in licensing, branding, business development and marketing.  Throughout his career, he has provided branding and licensing expertise to many companies including Spirit Jersey, The Mountain, MyOwnersBox, Forsythe Cosmetics, and uSell, among others.

For The Brand Liaison, Sandy heads up our sports licensing programs based on his strong experience and relationships working with The National Football League, Major League Baseball, NCAA collegiate licensing, NBA, and Nascar, among others.  He has been responsible for assisting our clients in successfully acquiring and marketing major sports licenses across multiple product categories, including participating in product placement with major retailers and sports licensing internet distribution.

Previously he was a partner at On The Ball, a marketing and sales agency helping consumer package companies develop their branding and licensing strategy.

His past corporate roles have included VP-Global Marketing for uSell and Executive Director of Marketing for Proven Methods.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Goldman held senior management positions at SkyMall, Turner Broadcasting System and Actmedia.

Mr. Goldman is a graduate of the University of Maryland – University College.

laurieLaurie Smith

“Smartest Playboy Bunny Ever”

Laurie Smith is a seasoned strategic licensing and marketing leader with rich, global experience across multiple business sectors and product arenas. 

She is a well-organized, results-oriented straight shooter who tackles every project with passion and conviction. It’s her hands-on experience that lays the foundation for her ability to develop winning strategies for her clients that deliver exceptional results. Her background includes a steady stream of professional successes in kids, sports and adult media and entertainment industries with iconic brands such as Nickelodeon, Major League Baseball and Playboy. She was the pivotal player in the repositioning and rebuild of the Playboy Global Licensing Program into an approximately $1B retail business. Laurie also solicited, negotiated and secured one of Playboy’s biggest and most successful licenses. 

Laurie graduated Cum Laude from the College of the Holy Cross and resides in Long Island.

Cory Waisner

“Chief Entertainment Officer”

Cory Waisner brings to us his expertise in marketing, licensing  and sales including 25 years in the fashion industry.

Being one of the co-founders of Global Design Concepts Inc., a leading accessories company out of NY the last 17+ years, has taught Cory the complexities of both character and brand licensing.   Cory was directly responsible for both licensed and private label product development including concepts and presentations to licensors and retailers in market segments such as Accessories, Fashion, Home, Sport, Pet and HBA.  In addition to development and product placement, Cory also worked closely with his offices overseas in China in sourcing new products, designs and unique fabrications.   Cory played an instrumental role in taking the company from startup to just shy of $100 million dollars in under 9 years and also earning the coveted Disney licensee of the year.

Cory’s licensing activities include works with brands such as Disney, Warner Bros., Vans, Bill A Bong, Old Navy, Dry Bar, Skechers, and Ironman Competitions, across multiple product categories, which has helped him earn a reputation for properly tailoring licensing programs to the specific needs of a wide array of clients.

At The Brand Liaison, Cory manages in bound licensing acquisitions for several clients and assists in securing new and different avenues for successful licensing programs both for manufacturers as well as brand owners.

His personality is larger than life leading to his tile as CEO — “The Chief Entertainment Officer”.

Cory is a graduate of Suny Albany with a backround in psychology and business.

vickiVicki Engel

“Firecracker”

Ms. Vicki Engel is a highly effective sales and marketing professional skilled at building profitable brand licensing programs and negotiating effective partnerships between brand owners and manufacturers.  Over her 12+ year career in marketing and licensing, Vicki has gained a deep understanding of multiple product categories including: apparel, fashion accessories, jewelry, home furnishings, automotive and luxury goods. Vicki is currently employed by Merchant Factors and manages collaborations between The Brand Liaison and Merchants.

Vicki’s licensing expertise extends to both corporate and fashion brand licensing programs. Prior to The Brand Liaison, Vicki worked at Iconix Brand Group, where she managed the newly acquired $500 million Mudd Jeans brand. Vicki managed the product development, business forecasting and marketing for more than 20 domestic and international licensees. Prior to her work at Iconix, Vicki supervised brand programs for Jones Apparel Group’s, Nine West, and Jeep licensing, where she oversaw product development and marketing for more than $450 million in annual retail sales and managed local agents in Australia, China, London, Paris and South Africa.  Most recently, Vicki served as Brand Director for the emerging denim brand Vigoss, signing multiple licensees to grow this multi-million dollar international company.

Throughout her career, Vicki has consistently increased product sales and established lucrative licensing partnerships for well-known brands. Vicki is skilled at working with a variety of clients from those looking to strike a select number of license agreements in key categories, to those whose objectives include a large expansion of its product portfolio through licensing.

Vicki graduated with honors from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Organizational Management. 

janonJanon Costley

“The Alchemist”

Janon Costley is a business executive with over 15 years of experience in brand development, licensing and operations, and a co-founder of The Brand Liaison.  Throughout his career, he has consistently been able to use his unique entrepreneurial spirit and keen market insight to identify quality, revenue generating, brand extension opportunities for companies in the retail and consumer products sectors.

Janon began his career as an Account Executive and eventually General Manager for the one of the country’s leading minority owned special event and tradeshow management companies, promoting the brands of some of the company’s top clients such as Exxon-Mobil, Toyota, Mitsubishi, National Science Foundation and The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

In 2002, Janon formed an apparel holding company involved with acquisitions and development of various apparel and consumer brands. Following several strategic brand acquisitions, distribution and licensing deals, including Converse and YMLA, the company went public in 2006. He was appointed CEO of the public company in 2007 where he lead the company in establishing strategic alliances with key retailers and manufacturing partners, as well as development of several successful private label and licensing programs. Most recently he was responsible for the development of licensing and distribution agreements with several internationally recognized brands including Kappa, FIFA and Skechers.

In addition to his role with The Brand Liaison, Janon also currently serves as an operating advisor for Verité Capital Partners, a minority owned and operated private equity firm focused on investments in the consumer products and retail sectors. Janon is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University (’95) with degrees in Business Administration and Marketing.

Our Services

Brand Representation

We have a long and successful history of identifying and creating new revenue streams for our clients, extending their brands into new products ranging from apparel to accessories, toys and games, home goods and more.

Our brand licensing activities are designed to fulfill the two complementary goals of (1) revenue creation, without corresponding expenses of creating new divisions and new product categories, and (2) brand enhancement without the expenses of advertising and promotion. Even experienced manufacturers can seek to rely on the expertise of licensing partners in specialized areas such as product design, sourcing, sales and distribution.

And all of our licensing activities are designed to maintain the integrity and history of the brands we represent.

Benefits of Brand Licensing

As a brand owner, licensing provides the following benefits:

  • Create new sources of revenue (without expenses or drain on company resources)
  • Increase brand awareness, reinforce brand positioning and brand messaging
  • Enhance brand image, increased goodwill and long term value of the brand
  • Increase brand strength and create long term competitive advantages
  • Broaden retail presence / cross-promotional opportunities
  • Increased touch points with existing customers and attract new consumers
  • Increased exposure and sales of the company’s core products
  • Efficiently enter new markets without typical barriers to entry
  • Expand product offerings utilizing licensees’ expertise, resources and efforts
  • Protect and strengthen trademark ownership and new trademark categories
  • Provides consumers genuine alternatives for illegal/unauthorized products

License Acquisition

For our manufacturer clients as licensees, we have developed an expertise in identifying and acquiring complementary brands to capitalize on all market sectors, including fashion, home decor, character and entertainment brands, and a special focus on acquiring professional and collegiate sports licensing.

Specifically, we look for “accretive revenue” opportunities, whereby our clients can look to greater volume, new accounts and new distribution channels.  From department stores to mass merchants and other unique channels, we assist our clients in developing strong licensing programs in order to create long term licensing and retail success.

Benefits of Acquiring Brand Licenses

  • Increase sales volume and incremental revenue streams
  • Instant product and brand credibility
  • Open new retail channels of distribution
  • Diversify product and brands carried
  • Utilize inherent brand attributes to develop new product
  • Cater products to known customer base

Key Deliverables

Our services include the following deliverables:

  • Market Assessment of Licensing Opportunities
  • Identify Highest Value License Product Categories and Timetable
  • Propose Strategic Licensing and Brand Extension Opportunities
  • Identify and contact Target Licensees/Licensors and other Strategic Partners
  • Develop Licensing  Agreements and Term Sheets
  • Negotiate and Close Licensing deals as Approved by Client
  • Participate with Client and Licensees to Facilitate Product Development and Line Reviews
  • Assist in Approvals and Monitoring of License Programs for Compliance
  • We deliver results!

Our Philosophy

Integrity in Everything That We Do…

Core Values

Integrity   |   Creativity   |   Professionalism   |   Passion   |   Performance

Brand Integrity: Our programs and activities are designed to create new revenue streams for our clients, while maintaining the tradition and history of the brands that we represent. Bridging the past with the future, we bring the history of our brands into powerful new programs consistent with the integrity of each brand.

Personal Integrity: There is nothing more important to us than our personal integrity. We strive to always maintain open, honest and candid communication with our clients and partners. It is our commitment to our services and our integrity, that is the bond of The Brand Liaison.

Program Integrity: We never recommend a deal that we don’t believe in. We work hard to create programs that will be successful to all parties. We believe this mutually beneficial philosophy will help us, as well as our clients, to foster successful, long term relationships.

Contact Us!

Our Brands

Some of our properties available for licensing:

(View all or click on any category below)

Contact Us!

Strategic Partners

Sales Representation

Graphic Design

Branding & Marketing

Idea Incubator & Financing

Factor & Accounts Receivable Financing

Logistics

Intellectual Property Law

Corporate Law

Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law

Licensing Industry Association

Select Licensing

Testimonials

It has been a real pleasure to work with Steven, Karen and the entire team at The Brand Liaison.  Our shared belief that building long lasting business relationships goes hand in hand with success has been evident from the get go. The time and effort they have spent to learn about and understand our business, along with our vision for the future, has been astonishing. With that knowledge they have been able to find partners who share the same vision and close deals that will help build our brand. I have been most impressed with their passion for finding the “right deal” rather than the “quick deal”, and their willingness to continuously keep the lines of communication open with the goal of finding those perfect “win/win” partnerships for us!

Alix Buckley
Stephen Joseph

Steven and the team at Brand Liaison are an absolute pleasure to deal with. Their level of service is outstanding, and they’ve been instrumental in building our brands across a multitude of product categories in an organized and simplistic way. They have brought us brands that have been very well received in the marketplace and we look forward to utilizing their expertise as we continue to grow our partnership.

Robert Zarabli
Felina Brands

Licensing has been one of the key factors contributing to the rapid growth of the Loudmouth brand. In 2010, Loudmouth started handling the licensing of products ourselves, but it was a bit of an uphill battle.  Early on in our licensing endeavors, Steven Heller and The Brand Liaison agency approached us about representing Loudmouth for licensing. It worked out brilliantly and in 2016 Loudmouth/The Brand Liaison was a finalist for the top Licensing Program of the Year for a Celebrity/Fashion Brand.  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 was wonderful in getting our brand in front of many big decision makers.

Larry Jackson
Loudmouth

I have been around for a long time with Nike, Disney, Hurley and Loudmouth. Over the years I have worked with many licensing companies and agents but for my money there is no one more dedicated or more professional than Steven Heller and The Brand Liaison.

He and his staff are smart, driven, experienced and always have a creative solution to difficult issues.  Steve and his team don’t know the meaning of 9 to 5. They are a 24/7 operation.  One of the best things about The Brand Liaison is that they make me feel like we are their only client.  They are tireless workers who have vast experience in the licensing world and are always willing to go the extra mile.

For Loudmouth, the Brand Liaison really helped develop both golf and lifestyle partnerships and were constantly bringing new opportunities to us for review.  They were super diligent to insure that our partners were world class.

I love working with Steve and his team and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to build their brand through licensing opportunities.

Dennis Green
Index L.A.

It’s rare that you come across a standout organization like The Brand Liaison.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Steven Heller and his team for the past two years, during which time we have collaborated on several projects together.  Above all, I am impressed with their vast knowledge of brands and their ability to guide us and mentor us through the licensing process so well.

Janice Lehr
CBM Corp.

As a business owner in an industry driven by creativity and artistic design, sometimes it feels impossible to find anyone who understands your brand and shares your vision the way you do. From the minute I met Steven Heller and the team at The Brand Liaison, I could see how much they believed in my brand and the opportunity for us to grow within the licensing community. Having that support from your licensing team is KEY to the growth of any company.

Ilene Segal
idesign + co

“The Brand Liaison has been instrumental in assisting us with our licensing, including getting us the collegiate licenses we needed to launch our sports licensing.   Steve and Sandy took the time to understand our business and guide us through a very competitive landscape in sports licensed apparel. And they remain committed to helping us with additional sports licensing opportunities.  Their knowledge, support and professionalism is outstanding and that’s why I highly recommended them when a friend recently asked me for a reference.”

Jake Ptasznik
Spirit Activewear

“The Brand Liaison Group has been a great asset to our company. They took the time to analyze and understand our business and followed up with relevant branding ideas with clear benefits to our company. Then Steve and his team helped bring these ideas to life by supporting us from the initial introductory brand meetings all the way through contract signing and beyond.”

Abe Safdieh
Best Accessory Group

“I am pleased to say that The Brand Liaison carefully took our needs, target market and categories into consideration and provided creative options. We feel there is a real focus on our account. We are happy with the service and would recommend The Brand Liaison to manufacturers in all industries.”

Rob Baranoff
Shalom International

“Steven and Sandy always look out for our best interests and continuously go above and beyond for their clients; not just with words but with actions. They are extremely professional, fun and easy to work with and bring an extensive Licensing knowledge base and experience to the table. It is always a pleasure working with The Brand Liaison Team”

Jordan Key
Cisco Supply

“The Brand Liaison has been an invaluable resource in helping to grow our business.  I’ve been continually impressed by their professionalism, strategic approach to evaluating opportunities, and ability to create connections with partners….”

Javier Colvaco
Clean Cubes

Press

Contact Us

The Brand Liaison

Phone/Fax: 855-TheLiaison (855-843-5424)
Email: Licensing@TheBrandLiaison.com

New York:

129 West 29th Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10001

Miami:

1776 N. Pine Island Road, Suite 316
Plantation, FL 33322