Ashley Stewart

It’s been an eventful year for Ashley Stewart, so why not keep the momentum going?

On Saturday, the plus-size specialty retailer will stage Rock the Block, a free event at the Bric House at 647 Fulton Street in Brooklyn from 10 a.m. t0 6 p.m., with everything from makeovers and a model boot camp, to beauty product demonstrations, panel discussions, a sample sale, fashion show, food, dancing and karaoke. Among the sponsors are Mixed Chicks hair products, Vera Moore cosmetics, Monistat chafing relief powder gel; RetailMeNot a web site for discounts, and Ginger + Liz vegan friendly and toxin-free nail lacquer.

“It’s a party. A celebration of our customers. A thank you for sticking by this brand through many difficult years. It’s a celebration of friendship and life,” James Rhee, Ashley Stewart’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, told WWD.

It’s also a culmination of events this year bolstering the business. In June, the Invus Group bought a controlling interest in the company from Clearlake Capital Group and the FirePine Group. The August issue of Cosmopolitan features an Ashley Stewart bodysuit on the cover, worn by plus-size model Ashley Graham. And recently, Andrea Berner, former vice president of business and legal affairs at the Miss Universe Organization and vice president and head of global licensing at IMG Legal, has joined Ashley Stewart as senior vice president and general counsel. While serving as general counsel, Berner will also assist in formulating events and multimedia efforts.

Rhee, the founder of FirePine, has been working to elevate the 89-unit Ashley Stewart chain and web site since he took it into bankruptcy in 2013 and shuttered nearly 100 stores. He overhauled Ashley Stewart’s senior management, relocated headquarters from a dingy warehouse to a 24,000-square-foot space in a tree-lined corporate park; outsourced distribution to a third party, added the Demandware platform for e-commerce, and changed the promotional and floor set cadence. He also established a digital marketing strategy and launched Ashley Stewart’s “Love Your Curves” campaign bringing stylists and model searches to stores around the country.

“We expect well north of 1,000 women will be in and out of Rock the Block during the course of the day,” Rhee said.