Formerly licensing manager-North America at Coca-Cola Co., Ms. Kane, 40, now heads up the Products Program for Colonial Williamsburg Co., the for-profit company that helps support the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which runs the restored 18th century colonial town of Williamsburg, Va. The licensing program includes 4,000 colonial-style home products ranging from furniture and paint to toys.
Ms. Kane has set out to restore the Williamsburg name to the kind of national prominence it enjoyed in the 1960s, before the dramatic design changes of the '70s, when, she says, "anything traditional and beautiful was rejected for flash and trash." The company's e-commerce site (williamsburgmarketplace.com), launched last year, allows customers to view a product for sale and also to click on a link to learn about the item's historical inspiration. No hot-pink bean bag chairs or lava lamps here. In the case of one baby quilt, shoppers can even find out the name of the folk art museum in Williamsburg where they can view the original.
Ms. Kane also has overseen the expansion of the brand into lines including the Reserve Collection, which offers formal reproductions, and Pure, Simple, Today, a more modern, interpretive line of products inspired by items in the Virginia museum collections.
Jerry Ruff, president of Lane Home Furnishings, a major licensee of the Pure, Simple, Today line, says that in a flat year for consumer products, the Williamsburg brand has helped his company's bottom line. "When consumers who are considering purchasing an expensive piece of furniture see the triple branding of Williamsburg, Lane and their retailer, it boosts their confidence," Mr. Ruff says. "That affirmation is very important to consumers during periods of economic difficulty." Williamsburg says the licensing program, which started in the 1930s, is the oldest museum-licensing program in the country.
The company's catalog and print advertising are produced in-house; a recent cable TV campaign promoting the Pure, Simple, Today furniture collection by Lane was created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Austin Kelley Advertising, Atlanta.