Olsen Twins Set Up Shop Online

Tween idols Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will open their first store on Monday and, fitting for their generation, it's in cyberspace.

Tween idols Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will open their first store on Monday and, fitting for their generation, it’s an online one.

This story first appeared in the September 27, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The twins’ company, Dualstar Entertainment Group of Culver City, Calif., is one of the largest celebrity lifestyle companies, with an estimated $1 billion in sales. Apparel makes up approximately 80 percent of revenues. The tween line, called mary-kateandashley, is sold at Wal-Mart and its British subsidiary, Asda, among other retailers worldwide.

The Olsens’ new shop, at shopmary-kateandashley.com, aims to tap into the booming e-tail market, said executive vice president Jill Zimmerman. It will also make the clothes available to a global customer who might not otherwise have access to them in stores, she said.

“We know that overall online sales are growing exponentially across the board,” Zimmerman said. Plus, she continued, having an online store “broadens consumer interest and supports the brand in the offline world as well. There is proof that having an online store actually drives people into stores.”

Zimmerman declined to reveal projections for the store.

The boutique will have a similar look and feel to the company’s eight-year-old marketing Web site at mary-kateandashley.com. That site houses a magazine, fan club and looks from the tween collection. In addition to showing the full line in a format that is easy to shop, the new Web store will offer fashion and beauty tips from the Olsens and sweepstakes contests. Promotions will include gifts-with-purchase and free shipping at certain times of the year.

Zimmerman said she does not believe the site will compete with the brands’ other online retailers, such as Wal-Mart, but will augment it.

The store was created and will be maintained by eFashionSolutions LLC of Secaucus, N.J. EFashionSolutions’ other fashion retail customers include Oscar de la Renta, ABS and Baby Phat. The company recently updated its software to make it easier for merchants to update their home pages with the latest fashion content and promotions. In addition, the new software supports 12 currencies and five languages, which is key for global sales of the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen line, said eFashionSolutions chief executive officer Ed Foy Jr.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen intend to work with a new fashion brand by investing in a designer and are developing their own high-end brand, which they plan to launch later this year. The Olsen twins own Dualstar, and the mary-kateandashley brand is a division of Dualstar.