Zippo Hopes To Spark Sales by Branching Out

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Zippo Hopes To Spark Sales by Branching Out

Lighter company creates clothing line, watches and other products as lighter with pressure increasing on folks not to smoke, Zippo Manufacturing Co. is hoping to capitalize on its brand by offering a wider variety of products from watches to leisure clothing to cologne through kiosks and Zippo-brand specialty stores designed to showcase the durable image reinforced by each distinctive lid "click" of its brass-encased, lifetime-guaranteed lighters.

Realizing that producing 18 million lighters a year in the mid-1990s was probably the company's high-water mark Zippo's 550 employees will produce about 12 million lighters this year the company started marketing research before president and chief executive officer Gregory Booth was hired 10 years ago.

The surveys asked consumers the question Booth must answer today: "What kind of products could we sell other than cigarette lighters that people would accept as Zippo products?"

The research shows the company tucked into a valley above the Allegheny National Forest, some 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh could sell other products if they fit Zippo's image, which Booth describes as "rugged, durable, made in America, iconic."

"It has to be something that feels like Zippo," Booth said of the travel bags, backpacks, watches, sunglasses, jeans and leisure shirts, wallets, pens, liquor flasks, outdoor hand warmers, playing cards and even a fragrance. Manufactured by Italian perfumer Mavive, it comes in a lighter-shaped canister (and, yes, a lid that clicks).

Note: Monte Carlo source.

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