Just under a year ago, Andrea Lieberman sold a majority stake in her contemporary label A.L.C. to InterLuxe, an investment arm of Lee Equity Partners, and the fruits of the partnership are beginning to show.
In the last eight months, a slew of key senior management hires have been made, including A.L.C. president Jonathan Saven, who was previously at Splendid, Ella Moss and Opening Ceremony; Joan Hong as senior vice president of product from Vince and Diane von Furstenberg; Emma Sutton, senior vice president of marketing, who previously worked at Dazed; Leore Arik, senior director of merchandising, joining from Theory and Ralph Lauren; Lisa Lee, director of e-commerce, and Danielle Alalu, vice president of sales.
In addition to staffing up, last week A.L.C. opened its own showroom at 210 Fifth Avenue in New York.
“This is all new for me,” said Lieberman, who’s based in Los Angeles, of the new staff. “I feel like when you build a company, you have a tendency to wear a lot of hats. With each person we bring on, I have no idea how I was able to live without them.”
Lieberman launched A.L.C. in 2009 after a successful career as a high-profile celebrity stylist with clients including Jennifer Lopez. The collection is primarily ready-to-wear driven, but also includes handbags. It is carried at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Intermix, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Matchesfashion.com.
With the cash injection from InterLuxe, which was established in 2014 by chairman Gary Wassner of Hilldun, Lieberman is looking to launch e-commerce later this year and potentially open her first brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles in 2017. The showroom, which has 15-foot ceilings and overlooks Madison Square Park, is “a huge milestone for us,” the designer said. “For the first time we have a sales team and everything is coming in-house.”
In addition to e-commerce and retail, Saven is focusing on implementing a proper marketing strategy. He said the fact Lieberman was able to build a business without ever having a deliberate marketing or branding initiative attracted him to the company. “They had never done retail, had never done e-commerce and had never done real marketing,” Saven said. “I thrive on businesses that have that a really strong foundation and need that little bit of expertise to bring them forward.”
The remainder of 2016 will be devoted to developing A.L.C.’s digital presence, with e-commerce and retail as the key focus of 2017. Saven said he was confident they would be able to triple A.L.C.’s growth in the next five years.
InterLuxe has been building its fashion portfolio, taking a stake in Jason Wu in 2014 and showing increased interest in the contemporary market. In addition to A.L.C., Wu is this month launching Grey Jason Wu, a contemporary sibling collection to his designer line.