AHQ Buys Hayden-Harnett

Designer and creative director Toni Hacker said she would like to double the size of the company within the next two to three years.

Hayden-Harnett has new owners.

This story first appeared in the October 29, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The seven-year-old brand was acquired for an undisclosed sum by AHQ-Accessory Headquarters, LLC, the firm which owns Kooba, V Couture by Kooba, Yak Pak and Go!Sak. Formerly Accessory Network Group, the company became AHQ in January after Wiesner Products, Inc. bought a portion of ANG.

“The following that this brand has is what intrigued us about it. They have a very strong following in the social media world and a very strong Web business,” Abe Chehebar, president of AHQ, told WWD of Hayden-Harnett joining its roster of handbag companies. “The aesthetic is unique and has its own DNA. We found it very interesting and something that we can market. It’s about getting more people turned on to the brand and expanding the distribution.”

Designer and creative director Toni Hacker said she would like to double the size of the company within the next two to three years. She projects the line will grow to $10 million in this time, from $5 million now, fueled primarily by bolstering the wholesale component of the business.

The brand has closed its stand-alone store in Brooklyn and has moved all operations to AHQ’s office here. During the transition phase, the line has put its wholesale business on hold (it was once carried at retailers such as Anthropologie and Nordstrom), but Hacker plans to continue an e-commerce business at haydenharnett.com, which will see a redesign on Nov. 1.

The site will still carry bespoke scarves and the slightly more expensive Collection handbags, all made in the U.S. and retailing from $475 to $950 (the main collection ranges from $238 to $650 and is produced in China). For spring, the digital flagship will carry the main line as well, which will also see a relaunch with “friendlier” price points.

Wholesale is where she’s focusing on going forward for both lines, as AHQ will be able to help Hayden-Harnett leverage larger orders for retailers.

“[We really] only had a very strong direct-to-customer business, and we saw that really ramp up over the last five years since 2007. It became a bit stronger. We’ve never really gone into major retailers, so it’s a pretty wide-open avenue,” Hacker said.

During February market, the brand will show its first full collection since joining the AHQ umbrella, but select styles from the upcoming summer capsule collection will be available on the site upon its reveal next week.

“I am so ready — everything is really hyper-intense color for spring summer,” Hacker said, revealing that in addition to a lot of textured leathers, offerings will be full of bright blue, red, violet and magenta.