Ronson’s Family Affair

An update on C.Ronson, a part of the Rocawear story.

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NEW YORK — The mood is calm, created partly by the cream color of the walls and carpets. The smell in the air is a lot like bubblegum.

This story first appeared in the July 17, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

That’s the scene at the C. Ronson showroom, which occupies a small corner of the Rocawear offices on the 39th floor at 1411 Broadway here. The light colors and pink bubblegum-scented air fresheners hanging here and there are characteristic of what the 25-year-old Charlotte Ronson represents, so it’s hard to believe that right around the corner sits Damon Dash, the mastermind behind Rocawear, Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc-A-Fella Films.

But it really does all make sense. Dash has been a supporter of Ronson since she launched her line in 1999. This year, he decided to help her out by purchasing the brand, but keeping Ronson at the creative helm. This has allowed Ronson to explore an array of new opportunities that will include her first men’s collection, a C. Ronson for Rocawear line and an advertising campaign.

“I’ve always been nervous about business,” Ronson said. “I am more of a creative mind than a business mind. Before Damon, my mom would help me here and there, but she was really just looking out for my best interests as her daughter. Damon is such a great friend and I trust him. He knows the business and how to make these deals, and he believes in me and my creative freedom. He always says, ‘If you think it’s hot, then it’s hot.’”

Now, she said, Dash is a lot like family, and that’s why she chose to include all of her best friends and family members in her first ad campaign. Since the C. Ronson brand is in such a growing phase, Ronson chose to use a less-aggressive approach to advertising her brand.

“We were really trying to display a day in the life of Charlotte,” said Sasha Tulchin, co-owner and marketing director of Project Inc., an advertising and creative consulting firm that worked on the C. Ronson campaign. “She has such a great life and great friends, so we wanted them to be in the ads. We also wanted it to have a downtown street vibe, which relates to Charlotte’s customer since she is shopping in NoLIta and around L.A. So, we will have wall posters hanging in both New York and L.A.”

Tulchin said the idea behind the campaign was to feature an array of important people in Ronson’s life, such as her twin sister Samantha, brother Mark (who are both well-known DJs on the Manhattan night scene), friend Taryn Manning, model May Anderson, sister Annabelle Dexter-Jones, sister-in-law-to-be Rashida Jones (daughter of Quincy) and of course Dash, for whom Ronson designed a sweatshirt to wear in the ad.

“I wanted the ads to be street and girly at the same time,” said Ronson, noting that the posters are set to go up beginning in September in time for Fashion Week. “I think we got that with these ads.”

With Ronson’s favorite color being pink, Tulchin said she was sure to make that evident in the campaign.

“Charlotte loves pink, so we knew we had to incorporate the color in the ads in some way or another,” Tulchin said. “The way we did it by making the bubbles that Haylynn is blowing or the dog in Charlotte’s lap entirely pink, it became more than just a logo.”

In addition to purchasing the C. Ronson line, Dash plans to help Samantha Ronson launch her career in music. Her first album will be released on the Roc-A-Fella Records label.

The C. Ronson line is on track to reach the $1 million mark by the end of the year. The line also includes a kitschy intimates collection called Tooshies by C. Ronson and a line of shoes. It can be found at high-end specialty retailers across the country, as well as in its freestanding retail location at 269 Elizabeth Street in Manhattan.

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