Contemporary brand Tart Collections in some ways went back to its roots when it partnered with media company Galore Media on a new capsule collection.
The line, for holiday and resort, made its debut this week at the Project trade show in Las Vegas.
Average wholesale pricing is $120 with the highest-priced item at retail being a metallic blue trenchcoat priced at about $800.
The collection is loud and features plunging necklines, velvet and shimmery fabrics in a nod to Studio 54. It’s a departure from what could be viewed as Tart’s more tame, laid-back dresses, coats and tops, but actually brings the company back to its beginnings in many ways, said cofounder and ceo Jamie Finegold.
“When we first started it 10 years ago, it was very much young starlet,” he said. “We really got away from our original origins [over the years], which were party girl, Studio 54 and it worked for us because the stores that were not in Miami and L.A. could actually start to buy our line. So this was kind of a throwback to what our original line was and it’s bold and sexy.”
Finegold found the creative directors of Galore Media, Prince Chenoa and Jacob Dekat, via Instagram. Galore, through its magazine, produces content for twentsomethings, reaching roughly 12 million readers daily. The company also includes a talent agency division, called Kitten, and has worked with retailers such as Forever 21, Nasty Gal and Steve Madden on marketing campaigns.
The two camps brainstormed on the collection and Tart’s design team then created the capsule.
“It’s a huge outlet for us to be exposed to that audience and I think that was 50 percent of it,” Finegold said of the partnership. “I think the other 50 percent of it was the way that [Galore’s founders] style shoots and create this vibe and scene….We’re exposing them to a world they’ve never been exposed to and then the same with us.”
The capsule launches at a time when Tart, headquartered in Concord, Calif., is eyeing a new growth phase for the business.
The company’s aiming to firm up operations and plans to enter brick-and-mortar.
Tart, about three months ago, hired Despina Georgiadis to serve as vice president of operations. Georgiadis is credited with building out the retail footprint of Harry Winston, taking it from two stores to 24 as its global director of operations.
The company’s targeting three stores in three years and is considering California and New York for those locations.
“Our future is definitely digital everywhere if possible, but the brick-and-mortar will be more [for] branding and marketing and not so much [about] we need to make money on the store. It will be to showcase the product,” Finegold said.
The company’s also set to hire a vice president of marketing, which would be a first for Tart. It’s also on the hunt for an executive to head up logistics.
In January it brought on Kendra Britton, a former director of design merchandising at Guess and former merchant at Gap, who is now handling merchandising at Tart.
“It’s really [about] trying to create the lifestyle collection where the customer can be outfitted head to toe and not just buying the [individual] items from us. And that’s the ultimate goal,” Britton said.
The original company, which was started 19 years ago, sold mostly private label to Wal-Mart, Sears and J.C. Penney stores. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that Finegold, along with wife and cofounder Dana Finegold, launched the Tart brand.
The firm’s line is now sold in about 1,800 specialty stores and counts Nordstrom as its largest department store account followed by Saks Fifth Avenue.
It employs about 75 workers and recently moved distribution to a 30,000-square-foot facility next to its headquarters.
The company’s projecting about 25 percent growth in sales this year from 2014, with most of that driven by existing accounts buying deeper into the collection.
The Finegolds are the sole owners of the privately held company and the two said they’ve been approached in the past 24 months with offers from investors, but Jamie said he struggles with the idea of having outsiders bringing their vision into the company as well as taking direction from someone else.
So, for now, he said, operational tightening remains the key focus.
“We’re striving for operational excellence,” he said. “So some of those bigger companies, we look to them and [ask ourselves] ‘OK, how are we going to get to $100 million in sales and not have this place implode’ and that’s why those key hires are now so important.”