David Meister is expected to resume shipping his collection and broaden the offerings next year through a new licensing program.
Meister has partnered with Los Angeles-based ACI Licensing Inc., an agent that intends to develop the David Meister brand, in the aftermath of the designer’s arrangement with Kellwood Co., which ended earlier this year.
ACI officials told WWD they expect to soon reveal licenses for Meister so his label can be in stores next year. Aside from red-carpet gowns, Meister’s collection was being carried by Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, which have some items still available, and other specialty retailers.
“ACI is very strategic,” Meister said. Licensing “is the model that looks to be most successful in the retail world. I have not really done licensing in the past. This is my first venture, as far as building a multiple licensing lifestyle program. The customer has been requesting brand extensions, different price points and categories.”
Andy Cohan, co-chief executive officer of ACI, said, “We are close to putting together a great program for David that will allow him to express himself creatively and business-wise. I think we are looking at end of second quarter or third quarter of 2015 to be in the stores and shipping. Initially, the focus will be on the core customers.” He said he sees exploring multiple licensing opportunities in categories other than ones Meister has tackled in the past.
Threadstone, an investment bank focused on the retail and consumer sector, advised Meister in the transaction. “This is the next chapter in his brand evolution,” said William Susman, Threadstone’s founder. “His niche is glamorous evening and red-carpet dresses and gowns.”
ACI will receive a royalty stream. ACI manages and administers all aspects of the licensing process, including marketing, research, financials, contract administration and royalty reporting. Meister, who is also based in Los Angeles, owns his brand.
Through Kellwood, Meister’s collection continued to be shipped through June and July. “We had been together for 15 years,” Meister said. “They were the ones that allowed me to start the business, but they were kind of going in a different direction. A lot of their brands are more moderate. We both knew it was time to go in different directions.”