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The Sak Brand Group Seeks an Investor, Adds Jewelry

The operator of Sak, Sakroots and Elliott Lucca looks to grow in a significant way via further category expansion and potentially, a strategic partner.

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NEW YORK — The Sak Brand Group is banking on category expansion and a strategic partner to help spur growth.

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Following the introduction of footwear and scarves last summer, the company is adding jewelry and cold-weather accessories this fall to its arsenal of handbags, small leather goods and stationery. The New York-based firm, which operates Sak and Sakroots, is also re-branding its Elliott Lucca division to appeal to a more luxe shopper with an eye for trendier styles.

Through a licensing agreement with Almar Sales Co., Sak and Sakroots will introduce jewelry collections in the fall. Sak’s line ranges from $24 to $100, and includes Seventies-inspired gold-plated bib necklaces, pendants, beaded necklaces, cuffs and pendants. Sakroots’ collection will retail from $19 to $48 and will nod to prints from its fall bag line. For its cold-weather wares, The Accessories Collective will create brightly colored, hand-stitched product, priced from $22 to $68.

All of this is part of the firm’s push to skew younger without losing its core consumer, said Mark Talucci, the company’s cofounder and chief executive officer.

With annual sales hovering around $100 million, the 24-year-old firm is looking to pump up revenue, and it hopes to do so by teaming with an investor, the ceo said.

“We’re going through a strategic review during the quarter because we are doing a lot of things,” Talucci said.

With three brands with overlapping pricing structures — all under $200 — the ceo said that while the company has experienced unexpected demand in noncore categories such as shoes, scarves and accessories for computers and cell phones, it needs to stake its place in the market.

Talucci, who considers Kooba, Botkier and Rebecca Minkoff his main rivals, spoke of the differences of each brand, but struggled to broadly delineate them.

“A lot of our [product] extensions share the same materials,” he said. “We are not making a distinction with price.”

Sak, the company’s most successful brand, sells more leather and crocheted bags and serves a customer interested in classic looks, while Sakroots incorporates vibrant prints, and generally targets a teen to young-adult shopper. Elliott Lucca also uses prints but in a slightly more sophisticated way, while also trying to appeal to a younger consumer via looks that mix materials. Colors, which are more subdued, are paired with prints, leather and exotic materials. Elliot Lucca bags are generally priced higher, in the mid-$200 range, while the Sak and Sakroots primarily serve the under-$100 market. With some of Elliott Lucca’s highest-priced duffels hitting just under $300, Talucci noted that his brand plays in the rough-and-tumble marketplace occupied by massive American accessories firms.

“We are competing against billion-dollar companies like Coach, Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Kate Spade,” he said “I can’t outmarket these guys.”

An investor would help the accessories firm with marketing, expanding its digital presence, growing internationally and opening more retail stores, he offered. For the moment, Sak has just one store, in Sea Girt, N.J., but the company is distributed in more than 4,500 department stores and in more than 850 specialty stores nationwide.

“The company is performing well. We can afford to take more risks,” said Talucci. “We can’t play not to lose, we’ve got to play to win. You’ve got to dream.”

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