By  on March 16, 2009

It's hard to go anywhere in Los Angeles these days without running into Christian Audigier. Drive to the Farmer’s Market or Hollywood & Highland and you’re bound to see him on a towering billboard, acting out his version of the American Dream. He’s posing next to a vintage Porsche convertible, top down, parked on the shoulder of a high desert road. Audigier gazes at a stretch of empty pavement, thumbs hooked into the pockets of paint-splattered jeans. This is the picture of success, and he demands that you take notice. Even if at first glance it appears he’s waiting for someone to drive by and give his roadster a jump.

To his fans — and there are many — Audigier is the marketing wizard who turned the work of an obscure tattoo artist into Ed Hardy, the ubiquitous apparel brand that celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. Audigier’s company, Nervous Tattoo Inc., realized a reported $250 million in 2008 for its stable of brands, more than double the previous year’s revenue. That’s not even including his licensees: Devotees can now wake up in Ed Hardy pajamas, splash Ed Hardy cologne across their shaved chests, rehydrate midday with Ed Hardy “structured” water and wrap themselves in $269, 300-thread-count Ed Hardy sheets at night as the Ambien kicks in.

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