STEEL’S MOVES: Steel Jeans, a denim company that late last year moved into a new 120,000-square-foot factory headquarters at 6100 Malt Ave. in Commerce, Calif., is planning some other big moves. Chief executive officer Danny Lee said he is opening two 1,500-square-foot corporate showrooms this month: one at the California Mart in downtown Los Angeles and the other at 1466 Broadway in New York. The firm had been represented by sales reps in those areas.

In addition, Steel has budgeted $3 million this year for its new national TV, print and outdoor ad campaign, and that figure may be expanded come fall. This is up substantially from last year’s budget of about $700,000, which used print, mall kiosks and buses. The ads feature three models and were shot in Georgetown in the Bahamas.

The five-year-old firm, formerly a denim subcontractor called Vickie Lee Fashions, now has 230 employees. Its products, wholesaling from $11 to $22, are posting 10 to 30 percent weekly sell-throughs, Lee said. The company is growing by 35 percent annually and should sustain that rate for another two to three years, he added. Key accounts include Wet Seal, Miller’s Outpost, Dillard’s, Belk’s and Federated Department Stores.

CHEROKEE’S NEW PEOPLE: Pat Howard and Drew Hogan have been named directors of sales and marketing for the licensing division of Cherokee, the Sunland, Calif.-based denim and sportswear firm. Both are new posts. They report to Corky Newman, president of Cherokee’s licensing unit, and will work out of corporate headquarters.

Howard will be responsible for the children’s and some women’s licensees, while Hogan will work with accessories and other women’s licensees. Both posts involve acting as liaisons between the licensee, retailers and the company to open lines of communication and improve merchandising. They will also oversee product development and quality control for each license.

Previously, Howard was national sales manager for Traci Lynn, a children’s wear manufacturer that holds Cherokee’s license for that area. Hogan was the marketing and merchandise manager for Savant Watches, which had Cherokee’s watch license until recently. That license is now held by Golden State, an accessory firm based in Oakland, Calif.

In addition, Cherokee has signed a three-way license with its Japanese licensee, Suzuya, and Woo-Jin, a Korean manufacturer, to produce and distribute women’s, men’s and children’s apparel under the Cherokee label. Suzuya will oversee the merchandise production, which will be manufactured in the Far East for distribution in Korea.

There are also plans to open two Cherokee stores in Korea by the end of this year. Suzuya already has 18 stores in Japan for Cherokee products, with plans to open five more in that country and two in Hong Kong.

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