LOS ANGELES — The brains behind Juicy Couture have launched e-commerce for their latest line, Pam & Gela, in a move they think will create the company’s largest door.
The one-year-old line of Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor is sold at retailers such as Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus, but the industry veterans’ move with the launch of the site is the first in a series of steps to grow the company into an omnichannel brand.
The line, described by Nash-Taylor as “casual luxury with a twist on advanced and elevated,” includes high-low sweatshirts, graphic T-shirts, track pants and leather jackets.
They expect the site to eventually grow to be the company’s largest revenue source to be followed by a flagship as early as the end of 2016. The store would complete the trifecta — of wholesale, e-commerce and company-owned retail — the two founders see as necessary to compete today.
“I think you do need all three [selling channels]. I think there’s a place for all three,” Skaist-Levy said. “I think there needs to be a place where you have your flagship brick-and-mortar, where you walk in and are blown away, and then it’s good to be in the majors, too. So you just have a lot of exposure.”
And consumers’ buying habits are different from the days of Juicy Couture, the two noted.
“The big brand era — it’s different now,” Nash-Taylor said. “People want to discover cool, smaller brands that have a stronger sense of who they are.”
That’s one of the reasons the two waited about a year before rolling out e-commerce so they could focus on Pam & Gela’s launch.
“Pam and I are wholesale girls,” Nash-Taylor said. “That’s how we grew up with Juicy. We grew up on wholesale, and the Web site was a phenomenon at Juicy. But, even at Juicy, people back in the day weren’t really paying much attention to it until all of a sudden everybody’s like ‘Oh, my God. We have to have our own Web site. This is the way of the future.’ And now it’s even a greater part of the way people shop.”
Pam & Gela will eventually align with bloggers because, “They’re the tastemakers now, much more so than the magazines,” Skaist-Levy said. “I mean, it’s the bloggers; it’s the ‘It’ girls. The celebs also, of course. But I don’t know if girls are really looking in magazines and saying, ‘I want that.’ But if they see somebody tweet a picture of themselves wearing it or see an [Instagram] pic, girls want it.”
It’s unclear how the company is doing financially. The two founders declined to provide sales figures or projections or confirm whether the line was profitable, citing the company’s private investors.
The Web site launch follows Pam & Gela’s recent move out of Nash-Taylor’s house to about 5,000 square feet of space fronting Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. About 18 people work out of the office.
The two are talking to a company about an accessories line and see potential sales in other categories, including footwear, but they’re taking a cautious approach to growth.
“We believe that you walk before you run,” Nash-Taylor said. “Just like we want to open retail at some point in a small, realistic way. Because we come from a very, very big business, to be small again is a luxury. It’s so fun, but we also want to do it right.”