Wilsons Inks Smith & Wesson Deal

by MR Magazine Staff

NEW YORK – Wilsons Leather has been granted rights to develop and market an exclusive line of leather jackets and accessories bearing the historic Smith & Wesson brand.

Wilsons, based in Minneapolis, plans to develop specialty leather outerwear, belts, handbags, wallets and other items designed to meet the requirements of military, law enforcement, firefighting and other emergency personnel, as well as those of outdoor sports enthusiasts.

“Through its wholesale distribution to multiple channels of trade, Wilsons Leather will enable us to reach millions of existing Smith & Wesson fans, as well as new fans, who seek to show their loyalty to the brand by wearing Smith & Wesson leather products,” said Bobbie Hunnicutt, S&W’s vice president of licensing.

“In addition, Wilsons Leather will be working with specific focus groups to design a comfortable and functional line of Smith & Wesson outerwear for law enforcement personnel.”

Beginning in spring 2007, the two firms plans to market S&W apparel and accessories through Wilsons’ wholesale channels, through S&W’s web site and retail store in Springfield, Mass., and with selected retail partners.

Ben Barras, general manager of Wilsons’ wholesale unit, said that his firm’s “wholesale distribution network, strong customer service ethic, dominant global leather sourcing network and design and development capabilities will allow us to support the Smith & Wesson brand with fashionable and functional merchandise at affordable prices.”

Smith & Wesson was a 154-year-old firm best known for its firearms which today bills itself as being in the “global business of safety, security, protection and sport.”