Smart Cents & Teddy Bears

Sometimes I encounter Private Brands in unusual places, and one such event happened at a 4-year-old birthday party I took my daughter to this weekend, or more accurately a Build-A-Bear party. The dozen or so children each pick out a bear, stuff it and play birthday games, while we parents have the opportunity to buy a lot of Private Brand clothes and accessories for our child’s new best friend. Cake is served, presents are opened and low and behold a random Private Brand product catches my eye.  Or at least that is what I thought it was. I wander over to the cake table and casually pick up what appears to be a classic value tier Private Brand. Smart Cents – the package design screams old school value, I flip it over to read the distribution clause and discover it is a Kmart brand. Notice the cent sign worked into the logo as the C. This is all the more intriguing given that there are no Kmart stores anywhere near.

I discover Private Brand everywhere, and even at this expensive birthday party parents trying to save a little money embrace Private Brand.


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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.