Mossimo Giannulli’s contemporary sportswear brand Modern Amusement has signed a master license agreement for all apparel and accessories categories with Blk Brd LLC, a new company founded specifically to operate the Modern Amusement business.
This story first appeared in the December 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Blk Brd is owned and headed up by Michael Boyes, a 22-year West Coast apparel industry veteran who is chief executive officer of Toolshed Sports, a maker of performance underwear for professional, college, high school and club sports teams.
While a compression underwear expert might seem an unlikely new shepherd for the hip Modern Amusement business, it was Boyes’ previous experience in the surf and skate industry, as well as his expertise in operations and sourcing, that attracted Giannulli to the deal. Boyes’ résumé includes stints at Quiksilver and Rusty, running his own outdoor enthusiast retail shop, and consulting on merchandising and sourcing issues for vertical retailers such as Gap, Banana Republic and Victoria’s Secret.
“We are excited to partner with Blk Brd and believe this represents a compelling opportunity to significantly expand the Modern Amusement brand,” said Giannulli of the five-year license, which is renewable for another five years. “My team and I will remain actively involved in the design and marketing to ensure that the brand’s message is clear and consistent, and we look forward to working closely with Blk Brd to help realize Modern’s true potential.”
Later this month, Modern Amusement will move from its current headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., into the same facility as Toolshed Sports in Costa Mesa, which happens to be where the brand was founded in 1995. (Former and current MLB players Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi are among the partners in Toolshed.)
Boyes is consolidating Modern Amusement’s back-office functions with Toolshed’s existing infrastructure, while keeping the two companies’ design, sales and marketing operations independent. Nine Modern Amusement employees who overlapped with existing Toolshed ones have exited, including the chief financial officer. Additionally, Todd Young has been hired as national sales manager and the company has severed its sales agreement with Joey Showroom in New York and Los Angeles. Young was previously with Indian Motorcycle apparel.
While Giannulli is best known for founding the Mossimo brand, licensing it to mass retailer Target and then selling it to Iconix Brand Group in 2006 for $119 million, Boyes insists there are no plans to take Modern Amusement down-market. “We are going to keep the same distribution,” he said, listing current accounts such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. He declined to divulge sales volume, but the brand is carried in close to 300 department and specialty stores domestically, in addition to 22 markets overseas. Men’s product comprises 60 percent of sales, and women’s, 40 percent.
Boyes expects Modern Amusement’s two existing licensees — Baum Vision for eyewear and Vestal Inc. for watches — to continue, and he plans to announce a new footwear license within a few weeks.