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CELEBRITY LICENSING

Is Rachael Ray the Next Big Celebrity Lifestyle Brand?

By Glenn S. Demby, Esq.

POP QUIZ

“I’m not an interior designer. But I’ve developed my own take on all things home and creating a [home furnishings] collection that represents my daily life is a natural evolution for my lifestyle brand.”

Question

Which celebrity said this?  

  1. Taylor Swift
  2. Jessica Alba
  3. Reese Witherspoon
  4. Gwyneth Paltrow
  5. None of the above

Answer

  1. None of the above

Explanation

The quote comes not from a superstar singer or actress but Rachael Ray in announcing her collaboration with Legacy Classic and Craftmaster Furniture on a new upholstered furniture and casegoods collection. Of course, celebrity cook-licensed home furnishings is nothing new; what makes the Rachael Ray Home Collection, which debuts in the spring, different is its scope and volume. This isn’t just the kitchen and dinnerware line you usually associate with celebrity cooks, notes Kerry Glasser, head of Concept Marketing Group. The offering includes 100 pieces of bedroom, dining room and accent furniture and about 30 pieces of upholstery.

What Rachael Ray is trying to do is parlay her cooking cred into a lifestyle brand that reaches beyond the kitchen and into every room of the house. Although stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Ellen DeGeneres have pulled it off, it’s a risky strategy that doesn’t always work. “The home furnishings market is already crowded with celebrity products,” says Glasser. “And celebrity doesn’t necessarily translate into success. It comes down to execution,” Glasser notes.

The Elvis Presley Furniture collection from Vaughn-Bassett serves as a cautionary tale. The line opened with great fanfare in April 2002. Alas, the blue suede sofa, sandblasted glass fronts inscribed with Elvis’s signature and other Graceland-inspired touches of dubious taste, failed to resonate with the public and the line closed six months later without making it to a second run.

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