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Shopping malls offer Bruin ware around the globe

Shoppers browse through merchandise made under the UCLA label at a stand-alone
Bruin shop in a Shanghai shopping mall. Having launched 12 such boutiques,
the licensee wants to open 60 to 100 more in China.

UCLA Today Staff

Joe Bruin has breached the Great Wall.

You can find him on the sixth floor of the New Century Department Store in Shanghai and the fifth floor of the GuaYou FangZhong Department Store in Beijing.

In fact, in dozens of boutique shops and retail spaces all over China (including Hong Kong), Japan, Korea, Singapore, Mexico and in the United States, around $33.5 million in retail sales of UCLA-branded merchandise — everything from T-shirts to sunglasses that bear the UCLA label — is being rung up annually.

The university receives royalties of 6-9% of the wholesale price of that merchandise, which is manufactured in each country and sold by companies licensed by the University of California Regents through UCLA Trademarks and Licensing, an enterprise of ASUCLA.

While UCLA products have been sold in Japan since the late ’70s, it wasn’t until last summer that the gateway to China opened up, with a dozen UCLA boutiques going rapidly into department stores there. They have been so successful the licensee wants to open 60 to 100 more, said Cynthia Holmes, director of Trademarks and Licensing.

“UCLA products have a certain cachet,” Holmes explained. “It’s the appeal of the Southern California lifestyle, the beaches, Hollywood and a world-renowned university known for its great educational and athletic programs. No other university has that comprehensive a package. It’s a dream, if you will, that we’ve been able to turn into a product.”

With Asian markets growing, the European licensing program being rebuilt and goals set for expanding into Central and South America, said Holmes, “we’ve reached the point where we now have the opportunity to present the university in a more cohesive manner.”

That’s also the vision of David Lundberg, director of strategic alliances in UCLA’s Development Office, who was amazed when he first stumbled across a stand-alone UCLA store in a Shanghai mall while visiting the city.

He has since been talking to units such as UCLA Extension and business partners about expanding the university’s presence beyond products in these stores.

“In China, UCLA is regarded as one of the premier American universities,” Lundberg said. “We could be making incredible inroads into Asia just because we are UCLA.”

While shopping, customers might peruse an exhibit on Extension programs, surf the UCLA Web site or watch a video on UCLA research. Today a T-shirt, but tomorrow a chance to sign up for a distance-learning class?

“There’s an opportunity here for us to transcend just being a commercial product,” said Holmes.

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