Rebecca Minkoff has new owners, WWD has learned.
The New York-based accessories and lifestyle brand has been sold to Sunrise Brands, which is headed by chairman and founder Gerard Guez.
Sunrise Brands is a Los Angeles-based diversified apparel company whose labels include NYDJ, Diane Gilman, Joie, Equipment, Current/Elliott, Skinnygirl and Donald Pliner. The company also does private label and has done celebrity lines with Melissa McCarthy and Eva Longoria.
Guez, who was in Europe, couldn’t be reached for comment. Rebecca and Uri Minkoff, cofounders of the brand, also were unavailable Tuesday for comment.
According to sources, the asset sale was between $13 million and $19 million. Rebecca Minkoff is expected to continue in her role as chief creative officer and Uri Minkoff, who has been chief executive officer, is said to be transitioning into a senior adviser role with a focus on innovation.
As reported last month in WWD, the Minkoffs were said to be in talks about selling their 16-year-old company, which has had financial difficulties during the pandemic. The brand, which started with the iconic “Morning After Bag” and caters to the Millennial consumer, has been ahead of the curve in many technological and social media initiatives. The brand manufactures handbags, clothing, footwear and accessories, as well as a home line.
During the pandemic, Rebecca Minkoff acknowledged the business has been challenging. She said in an interview last June that at the start of the pandemic, retailers abruptly canceled orders and the brand started pivoting more to a direct-to-consumer business.
“The pandemic made everything come to a glaring halt for a good six to nine months,” Minkoff said at the time. “We’re now back working with these stores, and just ensuring that we’re prepared for a different relationship, not in a bad way at all. We want to make sure whenever we do business, we’re as profitable as we can be. It’s not about being everywhere, it’s about optimizing each store that we’re in so that we’re in the ones that are doing the most business.”
The Minkoffs have built their brand by engaging with consumers on social media, and was one of the first to start doing that, even when stores originally questioned that tactic. When they launched, they didn’t have the money for advertising in a major magazine and started talking to bloggers who were making content. “They need something, we need something. For us, it was never a strategy, it was about opportunity,” Minkoff said in an interview last June. The company was one of the first to offer “see now, buy now” collections, a video wall for consumers in their flagship, interactive mirrors in dressing rooms and wearables.
In September, Minkoff became the first major American designer to make their collection available via NFT. In a tech-forward collaboration with Yahoo, the project offered digital versions of Minkoff’s fall/holiday looks, along with immersive online and augmented reality experiences.
Rebecca Minkoff said last June that she believes her brand was always ahead of her competition in the social media sphere.
“I definitely think we were leaders within that. If you look at our track record, when it comes to technology and innovation, we tend to be first to market. Whether it’s the store, or our wearables launching at the same time as Apple,” she said.
Guez started working in fashion when he was 15 in Lyon, France. In the early ’80s, he started Sasson Jeans with his brothers and went on to found Tarrant Apparel Group. After Tarrant went private in 2008 and changed its name to Sunrise Brands, it began launching brands. Today, Sunrise Brands remains a denim powerhouse, with a product mix that includes casual bottoms, knits, sweaters, sportswear, outerwear, bags and other lifestyle accessories.
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