NEW YORK — With licenses lined up for handbags and sunglasses, Badgley Mischka’s new owner is not dawdling about expanding the brand’s reach.
Candie’s Inc., which bought the designer label last year, makes no bones about its aggressive growth plan for the company. Candie’s chief executive officer Neil Cole said in a statement, “Interest in the brand has been overwhelming and we are carefully evaluating many opportunities for expansion and developing an exciting marketing plan for the brand.”
For now, Candie’s has inked a licensing deal with Florence-based Franchi Accessories for Badgley Mischka women’s handbags, and has signed another one with Los Angeles-based Sama Eyewear for women’s and men’s sunglasses and optical frames. Both collections will debut at the accessories market in August and will ship to stores for spring 2006.
Franchi will make evening bags to coordinate with the designers’ signature looks, as well as daytime handbags. Retail prices are expected to range from $400 to $1,200.
“It’s important that our bags mirror what we’re doing with the whole company,” James Mischka said. “We want to keep it special, luxurious and signature.”
He and Mark Badgley noted it can be challenging to find companies that understand a design philosophy, and have the resources and talent to execute a vision.
“Candie’s really understands brand management. It is very refreshing to have some really exciting projects in the pipeline,” Badgley said.
The travel is not bad either. Just back from a meeting at Franchi’s Florence headquarters, Mischka said, “There are worse places to do business than Florence.”
The designers said they are delighted to be working with Sama’s designer and ceo Sheila Vance, whom they have known for years. Mischka said he and Badgley plan to marry their vintage and glamorous style with Sama Eyewear’s technical sophistication and innovative materials. Retail prices for sunglasses and eyeglass frames will start at $250 and could go as high as $15,000 for styles made with gold and diamonds in the couture collection.