NEW YORK — Just five months after a new, contemporary version of Sarah Michaels bath products hit retail shelves, the brand’s parent, Sarah Michaels LLC, was forced into an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, according to the company. It subsequently filed in Chicago, where Sarah Michaels’ parent, The Hathi Group, is based.
The company, which makes and markets the Sarah Michaels, Freeman and San Francisco Soap beauty brands, said in its May 1 filing that its estimated liabilities are between $10 million and $50 million, the same range as its estimated assets. According to industry estimates, the three brands generated $85 million in 2002 sales. A statement supplied by the company, stated, “Even though the company’s sales have been strong, [we] faced tough hurdles including the K-Mart bankruptcy, excess inventory and problems inherited from previous owners. The company has already secured debtor-in-possession financing and continues to operate including supplying products to customers. The company is currently evaluating all its options including a sale of the entire company or certain brands. Due to the success of the Sarah Michaels’ relaunch and continued strength of the Freeman brand, the brands are expected to continue to thrive in the marketplace.”
In its filing, the firm also said that it had between 200 and 300 creditors. It expects to have funds available for distribution to unsecured creditors. Listed among its top 20 unsecured creditors are: Knowlton, Richford, Vt., $2.6 million; Tiro Industries Inc., St. Paul, Minn., $2.2 million; Arroyo, Lake Forrest, Calif., $1.3 million, and Dial Corp., Atlanta, $625,770.
The Hathi Group acquired the Sarah Michaels and Freeman beauty brands from The Dial Corp. in August 2001 for an undisclosed amount, beating out a number of bidders, including Miami Lakes, Fla.-based Solar Cosmetics Labs, the maker of NO-AD beauty products. Nuances within the specialty bath category, rather than Sarah Michaels’ various brands, are being blamed for the recent bankruptcy filing.
According to Bob Sheasby, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Solar Cosmetics Labs, “I think specialty bath, especially gift bath, requires a certain set of skills and an appreciation for the business that everybody in the business knows. People who don’t know the subtle intricacies of the business,” such as stringent logistic timetables to meet the needs of time-sensitive promotional offers, are bound to fail.Apparently, Sarah Michaels has not lost its luster: bids for the business abound. According to sources, Solar Cosmetics is interested in acquiring the Sarah Michaels and San Francisco Soap businesses. Sheasby, who would not comment on the speculation, managed the San Francisco Soap business when it was owned by JB Williams before the brand was sold to The Hathi Group in March 2002. Sheasby joined Solar Cosmetics a year ago.
The Freeman family is reportedly interested in buying the Freeman-branded business of Sarah Michaels. According to Larry Freeman, founder of Freeman Cosmetics, who in 1998 sold the brand to The Dial Corp. for a reported $80 million, confirmed that it it was “reasonable to assume that we would be interested” in acquiring the brand.
Sources also named private financial institutions as courters of the Sarah Michaels businesses.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)