The Sak Brand Expands, Revamps Image

The maker of handbags has opened its first store and added scarves to its offering, which includes footwear, belts and scarves.

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The Sak Brand Group is hoping the second time is the charm.

Eight years after unsuccessfully trying to jump into new categories, the 23-year-old company is back at it.

Known for its crocheted handbags, Sak is jumping into scarves with the help of The Accessory Collective, which also licenses hats and belts for the brand.

“We’ve matured a lot and learned a lot,” said Mark Talucci, Sak’s cofounder and chief executive officer. “We’ve brought in experts in other categories and are repositioning ourselves as cooler, younger and hipper.”

According to Talucci, the brand, which is carried in department stores such as Dillard’s, Macy’s, Bon-Ton and Belk, is in the process of evolving into something bigger.

With footwear already part of its offering, Sak’s distribution has broadened to specialty stores like Kitson and Zumiez.

Sak also opened its first retail store in Sea Girt, N.J. last month. The 2,600-square-foot space will house all three of the firm’s brands, Sak, Sakroots and Elliott Lucca. The store will be a litmus test of sorts for future locations, the ceo said, while adding that the brand is actively looking at spaces in Manhattan.

“We’re really in the middle of a shift from an affordable handbag brand to an aspirational handbag brand with extensions,” he said, adding that his company will likely add watches and eyewear to its offering.
But Sak isn’t dropping its DNA altogether. The brand will keep its prices between $25 and $250, and it remains committed to incorporating crochet into its wares, a detail that Talucci sees as a touch that separates the brand from the competition. To give the product a more modern feel, the company has infused leather and print to its offering.

Still, in order to really grow, the firm must look beyond product extensions and rebranding, Talucci admitted, explaining that he might need to find investors.

In the last three years, Sak has had a compound annual growth rate of more than 30 percent, and for this year, it expects to bring in under $100 million in wholesale sales, or under $200 million in sales. In the next five years, the brand is looking for 25 to 35 percent compound annual growth on its top line.

“We want to build and grow the business, but we don’t have the balance sheet,” he offered. “I can’t take the brand to the level I want to take it without an investment.”

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