Suri Cruise can step aside, there’s a new queen bee of celebrity offspring. Blue Ivy’s arrival was among the most anticipated births in recent years, and at less than 3 months old, there is already plenty of speculation about her earning potential. A few eyebrows were raised when her parents filed a trademark for her name. The Washington Post claims that the couple filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reserve it for a future line of baby carriages, baby cosmetics, diaper bags and other products.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z were right to take control of their daughter’s image early on. Blue was barely detached from the placenta before the trademark office began receiving filings. Fashion designer Joseph Mbeh submitted an application to trademark “Blue Ivy Carter NYC” just four days after the baby was born. This isn’t an isolated phenomenon. Companies often employ images of celebrity children to sell their products. Remember the Sasha and Malia dolls created by Ty Dolls? The dolls were pulled only after Michelle Obama complained, but the company denied there was any connection to the very end.
There is no doubt that Blue is already an “it” girl, but capitalizing on her image would go against the couple’s past behavior. Beyoncé and Jay have always been very private by celebrity standards. It has been over three years since their wedding, and photos from the ceremony have yet to leak other than a glimpse of her wedding dress in Beyoncé’s “I Was Here” video. But, since Blue’s birth, the couple has taken an unconventional approach to controlling their child’s brand.
Instead of waiting for the press to debate the reason for her growing tummy, Beyoncé confirmed her pregnancy by rubbing her baby bump at the end of her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Instead of selling Blue’s first photos to the highest bidder – as is the custom in Hollywood – they opted to quietly post five photographs on a Tumblr blog titled “HelloBlueIvyCarter.” The usually private Jay-Z released a song to commemorate his daughter’s birth. Blue Ivy was listed as a featured artist on the track, making her the youngest person to ever appear on the Billboard chart. Perhaps the power couple is hinting that they will be following in the steps of Will and Jada Smith and will not shield their child from the limelight.
Whether Blue will have her own clothing line before she masters holding her head upright is yet to be seen. It would certainly be unprecedented for a celebrity child. But, there is no doubt that Blue has increased the profitability of Beyoncé’s brand. Motherhood opens up new opportunities that Beyoncé’s pin-up diva image would not have allowed. Family brands like Johnson & Johnson would be silly to pass up the opportunity to have Beyoncé endorse their products.
Beyond endorsements, Beyoncé can expand her own product line to reflect the changes in her personal life. Don’t be surprised when the House of Dereon, the fashion line Beyoncé runs with her mother, adds another generation to their consumer base. Authenticity matters. Moms value the opinions of other moms because they face the same experiences, and they are clamoring for a mix of celebrity glamour and genuine experiences they can relate to. If Beyoncé chooses to allow the world into her personal life, she can certainly cash in without sacrificing her child’s privacy.
Cortney Cleveland is a content strategist and freelance culture & business writer working in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @CleveInTheCity.