LOOKING BEYOND APPAREL, AGAIN: Brand management firm Bluestar Alliance received Delaware Bankruptcy Court approval to be the so-called “stalking horse” bidder for Brookstone’s auction on Sept. 26. The auction is conducted with approval of the bankruptcy court.
Bluestar is the owner of the intellectual property assets of many fashion brands that include Tahari, Bebe, Kensie, Michael Bastian and English Laundry, to name a few. Founded by Joseph Gabbay and Ralph Gindi in 2006, the company’s focus is in the area of consumer brands that operate in the areas of wellness, home, travel and entertainment. Bluestar currently manages a portfolio with retail sales over $2.5 billion.
Brookstone filed for bankruptcy court protection last month, and is in the process of closing about 100 mall stores. Products on the site are mostly centered on tech gadgets and sleep and wellness items. For women, apparel-related products include a Bluetooth pom-pom beanie, a women’s jacket for travel and a leather RFID-blocking passport currency wallet, as well as socks for napping and some nightshirts and robes. For men, there’s a robe for napping and a Shiatsu foot massager, along with a dopp bag and a golf shoe and accessory bag.
While it seems that Brookstone might be taking Bluestar in a different direction from what has been primarily an apparel focus, Gindi said, “We owned and managed Sharper Image [and] purchased it out of bankruptcy in a very similar process. Brookstone is right in our wheelhouse.” He added that the company changed Sharper Image’s business model from a branded store to a “branded and curated wholesale merchandise collection, [with] $600 million in [annual] wholesale sales.”
Bluestar was part of the Hilco Consumer Credit and Gordon Brothers Group consortium that acquired Sharper Image in 2008 for $51.3 million, and then in October 2011 sold the brand to Iconix Brand Group. Iconix, in December 2016, inked a deal to sell the brand to ThreeSixty Group for $100 million.