The Sak is adding two more brands to its handbag mix.
This story first appeared in the May 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 20-year-old firm — which consists of namesake label The Sak and the slightly upscale Elliott Lucca — is launching two new lines for fall, Free Bird and Lina. Both additions are made entirely of PVC. Chief executive officer Mark Talucci expects the new lines to bring in half of The Sak’s $110 million retail business in the next three years. Over time he anticipates they will double sales.
“With the current economy we saw the opportunity in the market to fill the ‘contemporary casual’ space and we felt the attitude there was that there are a ton of opportunities in synthetics,” Talucci said. “We’re bringing our textural heritage into PVC and engaging a more fashion-forward customer. PVC doesn’t have to be so plasticlike, it can be cool and hip and it can feel great.”
Ranging from smaller bucket bags to larger cross-body styles, the Free Bird collection retails from $49 to $99 and appeals to a youthful, “carefree” shopper. The bags feature handstitching, hardware and a Native American dream catcher icon, which relays the line’s message of spirituality and hope. Free Bird’s targeted points of sale are akin to The Sak’s retail locations, namely Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Dillard’s.
Lina is aimed at a younger audience, with retail prices ranging from $29 to $59. Distribution is aimed at Kohl’s and J.C. Penney, which Talucci estimates does 95 percent of its handbag business in synthetics.
Talucci noted the brand additions were in the planning stages before the economy’s downturn, although the timing is appropriate to bring consumers smart fashion at lower price points. He also said that while most accessories companies are currently streamlining their businesses, The Sak survived its darkest time a few years ago.
“We’ve had a couple of tough years but our business is great now. We made a lot of changes and reorganized the entire company,” Talucci said. “We made a leaner structure and made the firm more ‘design and sales’ intensive as opposed to ‘operations’ intensive, so we’re incredibly nimble and a year or two ahead of the economy.”
In marking its 20th anniversary this year, The Sak also rereleased some of its original crocheted styles and debuted Sakroots, its first eco-collection.
The firm launched in 1989 under the title Elliott Lucca, named after co-founders Talucci and Todd Elliott. They introduced The Sak in 1994.