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Band of Outsiders Branches Out

Label has opened its first New York showroom and inked a new distribution deal for the Japanese market.

Los Angeles-based Band of Outsiders has invested in several key initiatives aimed at enhancing the company’s infrastructure to support solid sales growth. The men’s and women’s label opened its first New York showroom last month, moving most sales out of its longtime multiline showroom, The News.

This story first appeared in the February 2, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company has also inked a new distribution agreement with Sazaby League Ltd. for the Japanese market, where it will open the brand’s first freestanding store in August. Founder and designer Scott Sternberg will present his first runway show on Feb. 12 in New York, with distinct segments for his men’s and women’s collections.

“We just needed to completely change the approach to our relationship with retailers and how they see us,” said Sternberg of his 2,000-square-foot New York showroom, which is located in a former fortune cookie factory in Chinatown at 328 Broome Street. “We are making that transition from being that new, young brand. At some point, you want to grow up.”

The company last year rang up sales of $8 million and Sternberg expects 2011 revenues to grow 50 percent to $12 million. Much of that growth is expected to come from the contemporary Girl line, which has doubled in size to about 60 styles for fall.

The company’s businesses include the core Band of Outsiders men’s wear collection, the Boy by Band of Outsiders women’s line — which is based on men’s wear staples like blazers and Oxford cloth shirts — and the Girl label, which is more feminine and flirty. In addition, there’s a co-branded line of footwear with Sperry Top-Sider and a line of polo shirts under the This is Not a Polo Shirt label.

For the New York office, Sternberg recruited Pat Arora as vice president of global sales and Jenn Moers as sales manager. Arora is a veteran of Prada and Oscar de la Renta, while Moers came from Gucci. The firm now has nine employees in L.A. and three in New York.

In October, the company moved into a new 7,500-square-foot L.A. studio and showroom space in Hollywood, christening it with a dinner party in November that drew Marisa Tomei, Andrew Garfield, Erin Wasson, Summer Phoenix and Aziz Ansari.

Since May, Sternberg has been working with headhunters seeking a president and chief operating officer for the company. He plans to retain the chief executive officer role, in addition to overseeing design and creative.

The Japan deal with Sazaby League will strengthen a market that already accounts for 25 percent of the company’s sales. Sazaby League is a retail and restaurant operator with sales of $1.02 billion in its most recent fiscal year. It runs American Rag Cie, Ron Herman, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Camper stores in Japan, as well as more than 800 Starbucks coffee shops.

In both the U.S. and Asia, men’s comprises about 60 percent of the business and women’s is 40 percent. In Europe the figures are reversed, with women’s about 60 percent of the business.

Sternberg is in discussions with production partner Pier SpA that would have the Italy-based company take a minority financial stake in Band of Outsiders. Pier SpA holds the global license for the Girl line. In addition, it produces the entire men’s Band of Outsiders collection for Europe under license. In the rest of the world, about 30 percent of the men’s collection is produced by Pier, with the remainder produced in New York and L.A.