Three years after the 39-year-old leather goods brand was acquired by Brightwork Brand Holdings Corp., a private equity firm, it’s on track to exceed $10 million in sales this year and move into the black by 2015.
“We’ve doubled sales every year,” said John Reuter, chief executive officer, who acquired the brand for an undisclosed sum from Accessory Network Group in January 2011. “We’re not profitable yet, but we are on target with our business plan and should reach profitability next year.”
One way to reach that goal is to branch out beyond men’s merchandise and add product categories, and for Ghurka, the latest additions are furniture and a women’s collection. The women’s line will launch in September and will encompass six styles, some of which were derived from the archives, as well as new designs. The last time the company had offered women’s merchandise was in 2002, according to Pam Bristow, executive vice president of marketing and brand strategy.
Among the styles that will be offered are a vintage Rover handbag, a smaller version of the company’s Tilbury travel bag, a Wayfarer tote, a standard tote and a handbag created by connecting two of the company’s leather pouches. Unlike the men’s collection, which is lined with Ghurka’s signature check, the women’s bags have a khaki lining. The women’s line will also offer a different color palette including light pink and burgundy to augment the chestnut and black.
Ghurka is also introducing a bespoke glove line for women this fall. The gloves will be handmade in Florence, and the winter weight collection will be lined in cashmere. There are also lightweight drivers. Small leather goods such as wallets and notebook covers will also be offered, and the brand has also created a leather “jewelry roll,” designed for the traveling woman who wants a safe way to transport her rings and necklaces.
Bristow said the women’s line is “less about fashion and more about creating iconic core pieces that will remain the same over time. It’s really for the guy’s girl — it’s not precious. If he’s shooting, she’s shooting next to him. They’re engaged in life together.”
The handbags will retail for $795 to $1,395; small leather goods will be $395 to $495, and the gloves will sell for $250 to $300. The collection will be sold at Ghurka stores and online for the first season and may eventually be wholesaled as well.
This spring, Ghurka has also moved into the furniture business and has produced the Campaign Collection. The seven-piece collection created by master craftsman Richard Wrightman is based on British heritage pieces. It includes a campaign desk for $6,250, an officer’s chair for $2,995 and a campaign stool for $1,440. There are also leather pillows and trays.
Reuter said within the first three weeks, the company had sales of $50,000 in furniture.
Ghurka was founded in 1975 by Marley Hodgson, who had created Trafalgar, and the name derives from the handcrafted leather goods created for the Ghurka soldiers of Nepal, who are renowned for their bravery.
“We’re very pleased with how things are going,” Reuter said. “When we started, we thought it would be just a bag company, but we realized we can be a true lifestyle brand.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)