By Tom Kidd
When industry veteran Morgan Margolis assumed the role of President and CEO of Knitting Factory Entertainment in 2008, after almost a decade with the company in other roles, he got right to work expanding the brand. Today’s KFE promotes national tours, produces the hit Broadway musical Fela!, operates The Federal Bar Gastro Pub in North Hollywood, CA, and is a partner with record labels Partisan and Knitting Factory Records. Another venture, High Adventure Management, handles the careers of emerging and critically acclaimed recording artists both in the US and overseas. KFE also has its own line of shirts, hats and skateboards.
“We are a viable brand and we’re rebuilding,” says Margolis of his efforts. “We’re branding a true and interesting experience. It’s an imprint of imagery.”
There is precedent. “Virgin is about branding the experience,” Margolis points out. The president’s first goal was to determine what that experience would entail. Which direction? What did KFE want to be? Most importantly, why couldn’t the company as a whole share the iconic name recognition that the New York club still maintains?
There was no reason why it couldn’t. One of the first steps was to close the under-performing Hollywood club, which meant that the Los Angeles-based KFE may have made the first of its planned entries onto Broadway, but it has no presence on the streets of its hometown.
According to the company’s master plan, all that will change. With the help of those t-shirts, hats, skateboards, pub, in-house radio and two active record labels, it is only a matter of time before Margolis’ marketing efforts find their way back to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.