Second chances – Los Angeles is rife with those.
A few of the local industry’s colorful characters have lost their businesses — the reasons varied — in recent years. But some rebooted and their new endeavors appear to be gaining traction.
Last year, BCBG Max Azria LLC founder Max Azria parted ways with the company he founded, but he’s keeping busy. An investment in a Los Angeles-based hybrid LED lightbulb-maker and bug deterrent, called ZappLight, made Azria chief executive officer and a partner.
American Apparel founder Dov Charney’s Los Angeles Apparel gained steam earlier this year via an exclusive distribution deal with TSC Apparel. Charney also marked his return to the Pool trade show in Las Vegas, a place American Apparel had historically exhibited, showing basic T-shirts and sweatshirts as well as fashion-forward silhouettes such as cropped sweatshirts and denim. Up next will be the brand’s foray into the direct business, which he said should happen within a few months.
Then there’s Fraser Ross, founder of the pop-culture inspired boutique retailer Kitson. Ross, who has launched a number of lawsuits against the former ceo of Kitson along with lenders Salus Capital and the parent to retailer Spencer’s in a bid to prove wrongdoing that brought down Kitson, can’t help but stay in the retail game. He’s managed to rebuild a business in roughly a year’s time with two doors on Robertson Boulevard. There’s Kitross, which is expected to close in on about $7 million in sales this year, and also the more recently opened Kitross Kids, with a 2,500-square-foot space.
“I started importing goods. I was wholesaling and then when I opened [the boutique] Ice, I only sold jewelry and then I got into other aspects and I just realized it was my passion,” Ross said. “I like helping new vendors. I like developing something and making it successful that everyone else wants to carry later on. And I did that [with Kitson]. I don’t know any other [way].”