NEW YORK — Bongo is preparing to step up the beat in 2003.
The company, which became wholly owned by Candie’s Inc. in April, has various plans for growth in 2003, including a new ad campaign concept, a fresh merchandising scheme and a long list of new licenses.
Neil Cole, Candie’s Inc.’s chief executive officer and president, said Bongo is on the fast track to becoming a megabrand 20 years after its launch.
"The Bongo brand is one of the fastest-growing names in the industry due to the success of the jeanswear business, and we believe that this is an ideal time to be moving forward with product expansions," Cole said of Bongo’s plans for more licensing. "We believe that our strategy of continuing to pursue licensing opportunities for key categories for both brands will translate into growth and profitability for our company and shareholders."
According to Gary Bader, president of Bongo, the company has doubled its annual volume in 2002 to reach $100 million, not including revenue from licensed products. Bader said during the course of 2002, Bongo became a true department store brand, while still keeping it in specialty stores such as Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe and Gadzooks.
Bader said he expects to reach about $180 million in volume for the year ahead. While the label has been known as a jeans brand since its start, Bader said the company’s biggest challenge has been how to translate the denim trend into the next big thing on the denim floor.
"Denim really isn’t doing so well anymore, it’s not selling the way it was," Bader said. "I think that for the next back-to-school season we are going to see other items in the denim departments. We are starting to offer denim washes and fits in non-denim fabrics. I really think that this is going to be the answer, since the customers are already going into the junior departments and picking up numerous bottoms in nondenim fabrics."
That’s exactly the way Bader wants the new Bongo to grow in the next year. While it offers these nondenim bottoms in stores now, Bader said he has begun to see other vendors beginning to offer the same types of products that Bongo has. In the past, Bader said Bongo was more of a follower in the junior apparel business and now it is preparing to be a leader."We are keeping the same edge that Bongo has always had, but working really hard to stay one step ahead," he said.
In the licensing arena, the brand signed several deals in 2002 and plans to launch a series of others next year. Its existing licenses include knit tops, handbags, infant’s and children’s wear, belts, socks, small leather goods, eyewear, cold weather accessories, fashion hats and rainwear. Bader said he is close to signing an intimate apparel license and hopes to sign one for young men’s wear in 2003.
The newest ad campaign to launch in the spring features a much different look than in the past. Styled by Hayley Hill and photographed by Michael Muller, the campaign is sexier and more sophisticated than in the past. Bader said the company decided to go with a model rather than a celebrity, since they were looking for "the face of Bongo," something they didn’t see in pop star Willa Ford, who modeled for the ads last year.
Bader said he is attempting to reach an audience between the ages of 15 and 18, so ads are planned for the larger teen publications such as Seventeen and Teen People. He that since Candie’s purchased the company, it has made business run smoother and allow it to react more quickly.
"It used to be that the Candie’s people only paid attention to the brand when they had the time," he said. "When it was owned by Azteca and Candie’s it was hard because it was unclear of who was responsible for what. Now that we are fully owned by Candie’s, it’s their baby, too, so we get more attention."
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty