The Candie's Plan: Exclusive to Kohl's, to Launch Sportswear

Candie's will develop a junior sportswear and accessories line exclusively for Kohl's Department Stores.

with contributions from Vicki M. Young
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Steven Madden Ltd. and Candie’s amended their licensing agreement for the right to design, manufacture and distribute Candie’s branded footwear to reflect the brand’s arrangement with Kohl’s.

The deal comes fast behind Candie’s October acquisition of Badgley Mischka, known for its high-end designer evening gowns.

Over the last couple of years, Candie’s has shifted away from manufacturing, in favor of a business that leans on its strengths of advertising, promotion and brand managing.

The business model is fairly novel in the apparel world. Cherokee Inc., which manages the Mossimo brand, is one of the few examples of a similar business model. Cole prefers a grander comparison, though, and points to software giant Microsoft Corp. Managing intellectual property in that way does have its advantages over the standard fashion model.

“We don’t own any inventory, we don’t have to worry about any chargebacks,” said Cole. “It’s new to Seventh Avenue, but Wall Street does understand it.”

Cole has a full plate, with managing Candie’s, Badgley Mischka and its other brand, Bongo, but said he is considering using the company as a platform for further such expansion.

Executive vice president David Conn added, “There are also opportunities for these three brands internationally.”

A deal to produce Badgley Mischka is forthcoming. It’s possible the designer brand could strike an exclusive agreement with a retailer similar to the Candie’s-Kohl’s arrangement, said Cole.

“We’ve spoken to a couple of stores that would like us to [give them Badgley Mischka exclusively],” he said.
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