Sequential Brands, which has owned Caribbean Joe, the island lifestyle brand since 2013, is making waves again.
Sequential has signed several partnerships for the laid-back lifestyle brand in categories such as women’s and men’s sportswear, fragrance, kids’ swimwear, women’s pajamas and loungewear.
As part of the relaunch, it has signed a new partnership with The Levy Group for women’s and men’s sportswear. In addition, it has forged deals with Dreamwave for women’s pajamas and loungewear as well as kids’ swimwear, and a fragrance partnership with Bellevue Brands.
“This relaunch is the culmination of work we’ve done to refresh the iconic Caribbean Joe brand with a more modern sensibility while not losing its accessible, laid-back attitude that consumers love,” said Karen Castellano, president of Sequential Brands Group’s fashion division. “We’ve elevated our partners across several new categories and now have one cohesive design and print strategy across the brand.”
Donald Levy, chief executive officer of The Levy Group, said he is looking forward to introducing the casual lifestyle products to its key retail partners. The men’s Caribbean Joe sportswear will be introduced at retail this summer, and the women’s sportswear will launch in spring 2020. Loungewear (by Dreamwave) will be introduced this fall.
Spanning a range of categories, The Levy Group’s labels include Tahari, Betsey Johnson, Buffalo, Dawn Levy, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Spyder and Nautica. The company manufactures outerwear, swimwear, dresses, activewear, men’s tailored clothing and sportswear.
Castellano told WWD that Caribbean Joe hadn’t necessarily been dormant, “but rather just in need of a good refresh.
“We are recommitting our focus to elevating the product and marketing to connect with consumers,” she said. She said the brand will be focused on department stores, which had been their major channel of distribution historically. “However, we are determined to position the brand in different channels based on where consumers shop for different categories.”
Castellano said the brand is focused on expanding beyond apparel into home and outdoor décor, health and wellness and sun protection/skin care, as well as food and beverages.
Asked where she believes the women’s Caribbean Joe sportswear will be positioned, she said, “It really fills a white space at retail these days. It’s a great casual lifestyle suitable for seven-day-a-week dressing and at better price points that make the brand accessible to most consumers.” Castellano added that she believes the target customers are mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, “basically everyone who enjoys looking great in island-inspired fashion. We think it evokes vacation feelings, and that’s appropriate for anyone who enjoys a laid-back, island lifestyle,” she said.
As for why Sequential chose The Levy Group to do the men’s and women’s sportswear, Castellano noted that Levy has done a great job expanding beyond men’s and women’s outerwear into all categories of men’s and women’s apparel.
She added that Sequential is building digital and social strategies to connect with the consumers where they live and shop online. They will also be working with influencers. “This is the perfect time to relaunch the brand,” said Castellano. “It’s a lifestyle that is so popular as people are dressing more casually on all aspects of their lives. We also are motivated and excited by the resurgence of prints as a major fashion trend for men, women and kids of all ages. It’s Caribbean Joe’s identity and core.”
Caribbean Joe has had several lives under various owners. The brand was launched by Apparel Holdings Group in 2001 and generated more than $60 million in sales in its first year. By 2004, the moderate-priced brand was sold in between 2,200 and 3,000 department store shops across the country. In 2007, the brand was sold to Toronto-based Hilco Consumer Capital LLC, which renamed it CJ Apparel Group, and it was generating more than $200 million in wholesale volume. Eventually, in 2013, Sequential acquired Brand Matter, the intellectual property management company that owned Caribbean Joe and Ellen Tracy, for a total transaction value of $81.9 million. (Brand Matter and CJ Apparel Group were affiliated companies owned by an investment group led by Windsong Brands LLC and Hilco Consumer Capital.)