World-renown Collection Transitions to Butcher Family
ELGIN, Ill. & ITASCA, Ill. – May 17, 2005 – Precious Moments, Inc., (PMI) and Enesco Group, Inc. have announced PMI, a family-owned company, will begin to assume the product development, sales and distribution of the Precious Moments Collection, the world-renown line of collectible figurines and giftware. In addition, PMI will also assume the two Precious Moments Collector Clubs, which currently have approximately 100,000 members. Enesco Group, Inc. first introduced the Precious Moments Collection in 1978 and has since marketed the line to consumers around the world.
Michael T. Gillen, president of PMI, and Cynthia Passmore-McLaughlin, president and CEO of Enesco, announced that they reached an agreement to transition the Precious Moments business to PMI, beginning July 1 through December 31, 2005.
“Our number one goal will be to continue to service our base of more than 7,500 authorized Precious Moments retailers and our individual collectors,” said Michael Gillen. “Enesco and PMI will partner closely in this transition, whereby PMI will utilize Enesco's sales force for the remainder of the year and will work closely with the Enesco to transfer marketing efforts.”
Regarding the decision to transition the Precious Moments business to PMI, Cynthia Passmore-McLaughlin said, “Enesco and PMI have had a long and positive history. This is an important positive step for Enesco because it allows us to focus on our future growth in our gift, and home and garden décor business. We are so pleased that PMI will carry on the mission of Sam Butcher, the artist behind Precious Moments.”
Separately, Gillen commented, “I'm also pleased to announce that Eugene Freedman, retired founding chairman of Enesco, will have a major continuing role with Precious Moments, serving as our Goodwill Ambassador.” Freedman will communicate directly with Precious Moments' retailers and collectors who have built Precious Moments into one of the most recognizable and successful brands in the gift and collectibles industry.
Freedman is credited with “discovering” Sam Butcher's artwork and having a sample porcelain figurine sculpted by original sculptor Yasuhei Fujioka in 1978. That first figurine of two teardrop-eyed children, titled Love One Another , triggered what came to be called “the Precious Moments phenomenon.”
“The phenomenon that began over 27 years ago based on the universal themes of ‘loving, caring and sharing' are even more relevant in today's times,” noted Jon Butcher, chairman of PMI. “The Butcher family thanks Gene Freedman and the employees of Enesco for their tireless efforts over the years. We now look forward to building on their success to take the brand to new heights by renewing our long-term commitment to our loyal collectors and retailers.”
This week, Enesco and PMI will be welcoming more than a 1,000 retailers and members of its Precious Moments Collectors Club at the bi-annual national convention, being held this year in Hawaii , beginning May 18. At this highly-anticipated industry event, Sam Butcher, Gene Freedman and Shuhei Fujioka, son of the original sculptor, will be reunited and will have the opportunity to share three decades of memories, as well as discuss future plans for the Collection and the brand.
“We have fabulous new artwork, exciting new product designs and incredible new plans for events and promotions that will all be unveiled in the weeks and months ahead,” said Gillen. “Precious Moments is a force that has changed the lives of millions, and it belongs to them – it lives in their hearts and it is what ‘loving, caring and sharing' is all about. We are honored to now bring Precious Moments home to our wonderful retailers, our dedicated collectors, and to any and all who are about to feel its message for the first time. This emotion is what Precious Moments is all about.”
Precious Moments, Inc., with offices in suburban Chicago , Ill. and Carthage , Mo. , home of the renowned Precious Moments Chapel, is a privately held, family owned business. Principally, PMI is the owner of all Precious Moments artwork and is the exclusive licensor to more than 150 prominent companies, from Hallmark, which holds the license for greeting cards and gift wrap, to Thomas Nelson Company, creator of the famous Precious Moments Children's Bible that outsold the King James version in years past. United Media is the exclusive licensing agent for Precious Moments. For more information on Precious Moments, Inc., please visit www.preciousmoments.com .
About Enesco Group, Inc.
Enesco Group, Inc. is a world leader in the gift, and home and garden décor industries based n Itasca , Ill. Serving more than 40,000 customers globally, Enesco distributes products to a wide variety of specialty card and gift retailers, home décor boutiques as well as mass-market chains and direct mail retailers. The Company's product lines include some of the world's most recognizable brands, including Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore, Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Classics Collection, Pooh & Friends, Nickelodeon, Bratz, Halcyon Days, Lilliput Lane , and Border Fine Arts, among others. Further information is available on the Company's web site at www.enesco.com .