LOS ANGELES — People’s Liberation, the maker of Justin Timberlake’s William Rast denim brand, is switching to a new licensing business model after raising as much as $14.5 million from Tengram Capital Partners.
Los Angeles-based People’s Liberation, which also owns a namesake denim brand, will change its corporate name to Sequential Brands Group Inc. With the investment, it named to its board three of Tengram’s partners — Bill Sweedler, Matthew Eby and Richard Gersten — expanding its size to six from three.
Sweedler will serve as chairman, succeeding Colin Dyne, who will continue as People’s Liberation’s chief executive officer. Andrea Sobel, who was People’s Liberation’s executive vice president of branding and licensing, was promoted to chief marketing officer.
Tengram, based in Westport, Conn., has already purchased $3 million of debentures from People’s Liberation, and has agreed to purchase a minimum of $11 million of additional debentures within the next few weeks. People’s Liberation is its latest investment. Tengram and its predecessor fund, Windsong Brands LLC, hold stakes in fashion brands including Robert Graham, Ellen Tracy, Caribbean Joe and Carlos Falchi.
With its new licensing model, the company plans to license its namesake brand and William Rast in a variety of categories to retailers, wholesalers and distributors in the U.S. and overseas.
Started in 2005 as a collaboration with Timberlake, William Rast operates four stores in California and Florida. In the nine months ended Sept. 30, People’s Liberation posted a net loss of $2.6 million on revenues of $7 million, compared to a net loss of $3 million and revenue of $14.8 million a year ago.