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.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews