LOS ANGELES — John LaBonty, formerly vice president and general manager of international for Smashbox Cosmetics, has joined Boldface Group Inc., the Santa Monica, Calif.-based celebrity beauty licensing company, as president and chief executive officer.
Nicole Ostoya, who cofounded Boldface with Robin Coe-Hutshing and served as its ceo until LaBonty’s hire, will transition to the position of chief marketing officer.
“John brings incredible operational and leadership skills to the company. We have done over $8 million in the last 12 months, and we needed somebody that had broader experience to help the company grow into the size we think it can be,” said Ostoya. “We always envisioned bringing on somebody once we got to a certain growth point, and we had the good fortune of meeting John in early January, and the timing was right. We are getting ready for very big international expansion, and we are expanding domestically, too, and we felt like he was the perfect fit.”
The potential of Kardashian Beauty, the brand Boldface developed and marketed under a licensing agreement with sisters Kourtney, Kim and Khloé Kardashian, drew LaBonty to Boldface. Kardashian Beauty is now available in more than 4,000 doors at U.S. retailers, including Ulta, CVS and Duane Reade. Outside of the U.S., Kardashian Beauty has spread to Australia, South Africa and the European Union, and will soon enter the Middle East.
LaBonty sought the advice of Budd Taylor, who was the president of Smashbox when it was sold to the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. in 2010, before signing on to Boldface. “He felt that this opportunity had the most upside for me,” said LaBonty. “When you look at different brands and companies, it is not that frequently that you can find one that you can look at and see a very rapid opportunity to expand the business. I think we can rapidly grow this company. This is a business you can come into and make a tremendous impact, and very quickly drive top-line and bottom-line growth.”
LaBonty asked Ostoya to remain with Boldface to leverage her marketing know-how. “I felt her vision was important to the company. I wanted continuity in the business,” he said. “She knows all the brands that we are either developing or have in the market right now, and I just felt for a lot of reasons that it was the right thing to do.”
In fall 2012, Boldface launched Khroma Beauty by Kourtney, Kim and Khloé, but the brand’s name was changed to Kardashian Beauty last year. Boldface has been enmeshed in a legal dispute with Lee Tillett Inc., which markets Kroma cosmetics products, since 2012. Through sales of Kardashian Beauty, Boldface generated revenues of nearly $1.97 million and gross profit of $325,960 in the three months ended Dec. 31. During that time, the company also posted a net loss of almost $1.8 million.
In addition to the Kardashian license, Boldface holds the license to develop and market Mario Lopez’s fragrance, and beauty merchandise associated with the plush toy brand Uglydoll. Both of those product launches are expected next year. Ostoya noted that Boldface is in discussions to secure other licenses as well.
“We are not about loading up on a ton of licenses and herding them and burning them. We are more about finding a couple of great licenses and building them to be really big,” she said. “With Kardashian Beauty, we really feel that we are building a brand that has longevity, specialness and unique items, and we want to make it really, really big.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast