Bieber fever has boiled over with a passion for giving.
Two veteran executives, Robert Hollander and Paul West, have created a company, called Give Back Brands Inc., designed to develop celebrity franchised products as a means of raising money for charity.
This story first appeared in the November 5, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The first project will be a Justin Bieber women’s fragrance, due for launch in department stores next summer. The teenage pop sensation put out a statement Thursday: “The idea that I can create an amazing fragrance that I love, and actually give back to a charity that matters to me at the same time, was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Two weeks ago, Bieber had gone public with another fragrance deal, with Etoile Nation Beauty, to create scented wristbands and dog tags.
After the first deal, the 16-year-old teen and tween heartthrob was soon Tweeting about fragrance with his fans. He wrote: “Couple of you have been asking me about a fragrance, and if I’m following in my big bro [Usher’s] footsteps… Well you know I like to do my own thing and do things a little bit different so… Yes, I’m working on a real fragrance that will be in department stores next year… And by real I mean a fragrance that comes in a tight bottle and smells… Well you will see.”
Hollander, who is president of Give Back Brands, previously worked on branding and marketing projects with Britney Spears, Halle Berry and Sheryl Crow. His partner, West, previously was president and chief operating officer of Elizabeth Arden Inc.
The executives explained that the idea of the company is to run on a for-profit model, but donate proceeds to charity rather than plow them back to shareholders. Hollander said, “We are hoping we can manage a couple more entertainers in the next couple of years.” He underscored what a departure this venture is from the traditional funding model of appealing to the better side of the rich. “There are many great corporate citizens,” he said. “Now we can step out and go direct.”
The focus of the firm is to leverage star power to market prestige products that will generate the charity funds. Hollander and West said the Bieber fragrance is still in development, but it will be aimed at the singer’s older fans, from late teens upward. Likewise, the destination charities are still being picked, with Bieber’s help. “They can direct the profit to the charities important to them,” Hollander said, adding that every effort is being made to build a lean organization while still paying staff salaries and other operational costs. With headquarters is Los Angeles and offices in New York, the organization has staff of 10. However, “Nobody on our staff is getting paid what they are used to,” West noted.