Handbag firm Isabella Fiore has been acquired by Fab Starpoint, an 11-year-old accessories company specializing in licensed kids' accessories, for an undisclosed sum.
Fiore, which was started a dozen years ago and is based in Los Angeles, is known for its embellished leather bags, which retail for $200 to $800. Fab Starpoint until now has focused on children's accessories and back-to-school products under licenses such as Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Hello Kitty and Spider-Man. Fiore is its first foray into designer fashion, opening up a new distribution channel.
"The name speaks for itself," Steve Russo, Fab Starpoint president and chief executive officer, said of the Fiore brand, which is sold at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom, as well as independent specialty retailers. "It's got a tremendous consumer loyalty base."
Debbie Coleman, Fiore's president and ceo, said: "We have been challenged, of course, through our growing pains. I think it will be better now. We can focus more on our product, which is every company's dream."
Manhattan-based Fab Starpoint intends to give the company a cash influx and help it execute operations, including sourcing and production. Fiore's leather and other materials come chiefly from Italy, and production is based in China. There are no plans to change distribution or price points, but there are plans to grow product categories through licensing deals. Russo is looking into additional accessories categories such as shoes, belts, scarves and jewelry.
Fiore launched a footwear segment a few seasons back, but halted production because of lack of funds.
"We're here for the overall long-term vision," said Russo, adding that by 2009 he projects that Fiore will have $20 million in wholesale sales, not including licensing, and that by 2010 the wholesale volume will jump to $35 million.
Fiore also is looking to open a New York showroom.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"