By and  on May 18, 2005

NEW YORK — Hollywood joined forces with hip-hop at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club here Wednesday as an array of stars banded together to give a boost to a beauty entrepreneur out of Brooklyn.

Music mogul and consumer brand marketer Stephen Stoute put together a star-studded group of investors — including Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Thalia, Tommy Mottola, James Lassiter, Jimmy Iovine and Andrew Farkas — to catapult the growth of Carol's Daughter, an urban beauty brand founded by Lisa Price in her Brooklyn kitchen in 1993. The deal had its seeds in a lunch Stoute and Price had at Da Silvano on Oct. 21, 2003.

The deal confirms a WWD report on May 11.

Stoute and his high-powered circle said they plan to take the underexposed brand and build it into a national lifestyle landmark. Hinting the group will use the power marketing tools of Hollywood and hip-hop, Stoute promised to expand the definition of beauty in ways that may seem "profound."

Smith admitted that he's also got a few ulterior motives for investing in the brand. "I'm involved because of the way that my wife reacts when I put that Jazzy Juice in my hair," he cracked. "I get that Jazzy Juice in my hair, and I know it's going to be a long night — in a good way."

It's appropriate that a jazzy product appeals to Smith, as it was his former sidekick, DJ Jazzy Jeff, who first introduced Pinkett Smith to the brand seven years ago. "Then I was hooked," she said.

Speaking of investments, none of the stars were anxious to discuss exactly how much they were investing in the company, which industry sources estimated does about $5 million in retail sales annually with more than 350 stockkeeping units.

When asked how much the group was investing, Stoute retorted amid loud laughter while gesturing toward the well-heeled group, "Does the company look well-funded?"

Carol's Daughter operates its own store in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, and the brand is distributed in about 20 boutiques in addition to catalogue and internet sales. "With distribution, it's very important for us to be able to control the tonality at retail," said Stoute. "Lisa has her own retail store in Brooklyn, and we're opening up our first retail store as a unit in Harlem in August, which will be the flagship location. We plan on rolling out our own stores, and we're going to work with a select group of retailers who are willing to speak to us on our terms."

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