The-M-Zone generates entrepreneurial, compelling and unique business strategies that align with clients' goals and then executes them. Our team has extensive experience working for very large companies/brands, but we have also worked with impressive brands that operate with a light internal infrastructure. Our core competencies are:
Developing and implementing all aspects of consumer products including licensing, product development, marketing and retail
Generating innovative global franchise plans
Executing large scale strategic marketing partnerships
Identifying and creating relevant brand extensions
Taking new brands from original concept to execution
Providing content development and creative direction
Our clients include entertainment companies looking to maximize their IP’s, global established brands seeking to gain new consumers and incremental growth initiatives, new brands looking for direction on how to effectively launch, and non-profits seeking assistance in bridging with corporate sponsors.
We immerse ourselves in our clients' culture and deliver results effectively and efficiently. Our bench strength is our experience, our long-standing relationships with senior management at market leading companies across all industries, and our passion to get things done. If you are challenged with keeping overhead low but want an A level SWAT team to help you, let's connect.
Founder & Co-President
VP Business Development
VP Business Development
Melissa Segal, Founder & Partner
Melissa Segal, Founder of The M-Zone, is a licensing entrepreneur who received her BA at UCLA in Communications and received her MBA at Columbia Business School where she majored in management and marketing.
Melissa has over 20 years of consumer products experience including 8 years at The Walt Disney Company and 5 years at The Jim Henson Company. As Executive Vice President of Global Consumer Products at Henson, Melissa grew a global licensing business across every category including apparel, toys, publishing, room décor, stationery, accessories, DVDs, and live shows in every channel of retail distribution. Melissa most recently launched The-M-Zone, a strategic business development company with a top industry team of executives to help generate incremental revenue and marketing opportunities for clients.
Sue Rubano, VP Business Development
Sue Rubano is an accomplished, enthusiastic, results-oriented consumer products executive with 25 years’ experience working with a variety of global companies and intellectual properties. She has a vast network of industry relationships and specializes in strategic brand development, market research, contract negotiations, product development, sales and retail execution.
Prior to joining The-M-Zone, she consulted from 2008 through 2014 for The Jim Henson Company, where she developed and managed licensing programs for popular children's entertainment brands, Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, Pajanimals and Fraggle Rock as well as Henson's legacy sci-fi properties. She created successful licensing programs for mass and specialty retailers for toys, games, home, personal care, food, gifts, collectibles and live event categories. She managed the P&L for all licensing programs.
Sue previously consulted for leading manufacturers including Springs Global for home textiles (3 years) and Zak Designs for housewares (1 year). For both clients, she acquired new licenses and created successful marketing programs. At Brandolution, a leading brand development agency, Sue developed a successful licnesing program for Sunbeam's Grillmaster brand placed at Lowe's.
Sue was formerly with Disney Consumer Products fro 1994 to 2002 where she was Director, Home Furnishings Licensing. She led a team of five people and developed and executed strategic marketing plans for the Disney Home category which consisted of 50+ licensees with over $350 million in retail sales annually at major US retail outlets.
Sue is a former board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado. She is a past volunteer for the Los Angeles Literacy Project. She received her B.S. degree from Colorado State University. She currently lives in Durango, Co where she enjoys skiing, kayaking and hiking.
Madeline Dupont, VP Business Development
A 25+ year veteran in consumer products licensing, marketing, product development, branding and retail business development.
Madeline’s experience includes positions with Disney Consumer Products, Hallmark Cards, Applause Toys, Calphalon (Newell Rubbermaid), Evergreen Concepts (start-up Licensing Agency), Universal Studios, and The Jim Henson Company. She has direct product development experience in categories ranging from greeting cards, stationery and party goods to plush toys and novelty gifts. Her Licensing experience covers all key categories including Apparel, Accessories, Footwear, Toys, Home Décor, Publishing, Seasonal, Gifts, etc. At Disney, she led the US Infant Hardlines business as well global infant strategy as a key member of the global infant team. Prior to that, she managed Disney’s social expression category as well as retail business development for department stores and Target. She held the VP of Marketing role at Calphalon, heading up a 50 person department. At The Jim Henson Company, she managed several US categories and most recently headed up International Licensing, building Dinosaur Train into a hugely successful International business.
Madeline has a B.S. in Advertising and M.B.A. in Finance, both from The University of Texas at Austin. She resides in Marina Del Rey, California.
Jim Valeri, VP Creative
Jim Valeri has been a Creative Director for Disney Consumer Products and Cartoon Network Studios. He is currently a freelance Character Artist, Illustrator and Product Designer contracting with major Toy, Novelty and Publishing Companies such as Mattel, MGAE, Spinmaster and Penguin/Harper Collins as well as Animation Studios such as Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Saban, and Jim Henson Company.
Jane Schonberger, VP Content
Jane Schonberger has a background in management, marketing and media and a love for content in all its consumable forms. She is a product development expert with deep editorial experience and a background in traditional and new media. Working primarily at the intersection of entertainment, lifestyle and technology, she has extensive experience leading cross-functional teams overseeing social media, syndication and distribution as well as sponsorship and marketing.
As a consultant, Jane provides strategic support and advisory services for brands, companies, organizations, and personalities looking for creative ways to raise awareness, generate revenue and trigger specific behavior. Able to identify high value opportunities and collaborate successfully with internal and external stakeholders she works to develop, produce, and deliver scalable products in the mobile, web and consumer domains.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Jane began her career in New York City as Director of Production for Warner Audio (a division of Warner Publishing) and relocated to Los Angeles where she served stints as an Editor-at-Large for Hyperion and creative executive for Walt Disney Co., Mommy & Me, Inc. and Fox among others. She produced numerous high profile projects including the English-language versions of several Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli films distributed by Disney.
Jane is the Managing Partner of Pretty Tough Productions, a media company that facilitates content strategies, implements influencer programs, and creates narratives that provide both positive social and business return. With a broad understanding of how all types of media are aggregated and packaged and the business of original content, including branded entertainment, Schonberger has a proven ability to interface, collaborate and problem-solve successfully within large and small media companies and external partners.
Jane graduated from George Washington University and is the mom of two daughters, who challenge and inspire her everyday and make her eligible to play in the Moms Basketball League at her local gym.
Jeff Fradin is a senior consumer products executive with a proven track record of overachievement, innovation and leadership in consumer goods. Expertise includes strategic business development, sourcing, procurement and supply chain development, manufacturing and distribution, marketing and promotions, product licensing and retail sales and retail business development.
Jeff has over 25 years of consumer products experience including 3 years at Zak Designs as President of the Children’s Division and 12 years at The Walt Disney Company where he led the North America Hardlines team as Vice President of Consumer Products. He has owned and co-owned several companies with many successes including the development and marketing of the #1 Direct Response product line for children in 2012 and 2013 with sales in excess of 8 million units worldwide.
Specialties: Product innovation and marketing, strategic business development and operational execution.