Monday, November 12, 2012

Is Kellwood Under Water?

I figured I'd ramp things back up here ahead of the holiday buying rush, but damn, nobody's checking for Baby Phat.  At all.  I did a Google search and nothing but a bunch of junk returns and old links to the brand's heyday when Kimora was still at the helm.  I did a Google search for Kellwood and oh my have things gotten interesting over there. 

First, in my neglect here, I missed the news that Jill Granoff, former CEO of Kenneth Cole, is now in our pal Michael Kramer's old job.  She's already shaking things up and I have a feeling that there aren't enough fingers to plug the dam over there.  Hilariously, I believe Kellwood is glad that most of the fashion trade press has pretty much left them to their devices while they "reorganize".  But, the St. Louis media keeps right on reporting what's happening.  Like this, Report:  Kellwood Co. Considering IPO for Vince Brand in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Let's discuss.  Shall we? We shall.

Vince has long been Kellwood's pride and joy.  The company has considered it their premiere luxury brand.  So, why would they sell it?  From the Post-Dispatch article:
Vince, a brand that has been around for a decade, was often singled out by former Kellwood chief executive Michael Kramer as one of the company's bright spots. He said he wanted to propel other new brands to the next level in a similar fashion as Vince. He told the Post-Dispatch more than a year ago that Vince was doing about $115 million in sales at wholesale, compared to about $35 million when Kellwood bought it in 2006.
Sounds like a pretty good return to me.  Am I missing something...or was somebody lying?  Now, Kramer is over at J.C. Penney serving as Chief Operating Officer, screwing up their books as well.  So bad in fact, analysts don't have very much hope for the company's future.  I found this part in a Dallas Morning News article about a recent JCP share-purchase by Kramer especially interesting:

During a two-day analyst meeting in New York in January, Kramer got some laughs from the audience of more than 700 analysts, reporters and vendors. He told a short story that included his wife chiding him for not “playing hard to get” when the call came from Johnson.
As in, he didn't even think twice when Ron Johnson called him.... Makes you wonder, huh?  I had a similar question when I heard the news that he was going to JCP.  Why would he leave a CEO post to serve as COO to someone?  Didn't make a lot of sense to me then and doesn't now.  Sounds like Jill Granoff has already found out and now she's trying to fix all of the sh*t he screwed up -- with devastating things ahead for brands that have been around for a while.

Please don't spend your hard-earned dollars on Baby Phat.  I feel like I'm beating a, but I want the brand to be eliminated.  I don't even want to hear that it was spotted at a swap meet.  Kellwood doesn't deserve your dollars and they have no respect for urban consumers.  There are plenty better places you could spend your money -- including places that Kimora still has a hand in, like where you can find everything from shoes and handbags to jewelry and a wide selection of colorful denim options.  She's President and Creative Director over there and things are going very well.  Very well.  AND, in case you've been under a rock, she launched a new skincare line, Shinto Clinical, earlier this year and it's taking off as well.  Vanity Fair calls it a New Skin-Care Favorite.  And, I use it and I love it!  It's high-quality with a price-point that is far below what they probably could have decided upon.  Give it a shot.  I know you'll enjoy it. 

Let's let this be the last year we have this discussion.  I know that it's hard to let it go, but she has.  Why not follow suit? --Sugar

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