NEW YORK — Accessory Network Group has acquired the rights to the Kooba brand from private equity firm Swander Pace Capital.
Kooba was bought by Swander Pace in 2007. The amount ANG paid was not disclosed. Abe Chehebar, chief executive officer of ANG, said the company was approached by Sage Group, an investment banking firm, on behalf of Kooba. “I’ve been following Kooba since they started, and I expressed a very high level of interest,” Chehebar told WWD exclusively.
ANG also owns Ghurka, a men’s leather goods company. Chehebar said, “I like Kooba because of their recognition in the marketplace. They’re a respected leather goods brand.…I feel like I’ve found a wife for Ghurka.”
Abbe Held, co-founder and creative director of Kooba, will remain at the helm. “Joining forces with ANG will give us the opportunity to expand into new markets and categories, creating the full essence of the Kooba brand,” Held said.
When asked how he planned to grow the brand, Chehebar said, “I think there’s an opportunity to do international distribution, which is not a healthy portion of the business today. I believe there is an opportunity to open retail stores with the Kooba brand, which we know how to run, and I think there’s an opportunity to improve their online sales.”
At the same time Chehebar stressed, “I want to maintain the luxury of the brand.…Maintaining and being a steward of a luxury brand is all about knowing how to say, ‘No, this is not right for the brand.’”
Chehebar’s first project will be to revamp the brand’s advertising. “Kooba has a big celebrity following, and I want to highlight that in the advertising.”
The last time Kooba and ANG made headlines together was after a brief legal scuffle in 2006. Kooba filed a trade dress infringement lawsuit against ANG and Nordstrom for selling a handbag style Kooba believed to be copied from its 2005 collection. According to Chehebar, the suit was quickly settled out of court.
Kooba was launched in 1998 by Abbe and Bonnie Held as a luxury handbag brand. In 2007 the company expanded into apparel, introducing a small line of outerwear. Three years later, Kooba partnered with Swander Pace Capital, and launched footwear. Kooba handbags retail at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s for $175 to $795. Industry sources estimate Kooba’s annual sales volume is approximately $20 million.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)