How do you revive a cool California model that was so well-liked that inside just a few years of launching greater than 20 years in the past, its revenues climbed to $100 million a yr after which went to nothing?
The reply is — very slowly.
French footwear firm Groupe Royer acquired the Von Dutch emblems in 2009 when Von Dutch Unique, headed by Dutchman Tonny Sørensen, made a fortune promoting brand trucker hats, blue denims and gas-station attendant shirts worn by a coterie of celebrities resembling Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Paris Hilton.
When French designer Christian Audigier got here on board, his over-the-top persona and advertising and marketing abilities helped develop the model quickly till he left in 2004 to launch Ed Hardy, a graphic-intense model whose title was licensed from American tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy.
Von Dutch gross sales declined after Audigier’s departure, and later the emblems had been offered to Groupe Royer. The brand new French homeowners began out contemporary with no revenues firstly, rising gross sales exterior of the US in nations resembling Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand and Italy. “It was an enormous problem,” stated Olivier Mercier, the chief govt of Von Dutch Worldwide, based mostly in Luxembourg. “However I knew one thing might be achieved with this model as a result of it has such a powerful DNA.”
Then in 2014, the revamped Von Dutch discovered a licensee in Los Angeles to develop U.S. gross sales. He was doing nicely and had a profitable retailer on Melrose Avenue. When the licensee left in 2019, Von Dutch took over. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, forcing the Melrose Avenue retailer to shut.
Ever since, Mercier and his colleagues have been looking for a everlasting retail spot in Los Angeles that isn’t too touristy however fashionable sufficient to match the model’s cool vibe from an period when bling was all in.
With no everlasting retail location but, Von Dutch determined to launch just a few pop-up outlets and occasions this vacation season in prime areas that contact on its retro L.A. enchantment. At the moment, that features a two-week keep at Kitson Robertson, the shop recognized for launching tendencies just like the trucker cap, and a pop-up contained in the Mondrian Resort on Sundown Boulevard.
In December, there shall be an enormous sale with limited-edition drops at Saddle Ranch, the chop home with a mechanical bull that’s been working in West Hollywood because the early 2000s, and a 3rd pop-up is deliberate when Von Dutch takes over for a day and evening at The Viper Room, the famed membership based in 1993 by Johnny Depp and Sal Jenco.
Today, Von Dutch’s gross sales are primarily on-line. “[Business-to-consumer] was for some time the one technique to make issues occur,” Mercier stated. Now about 80 % of the corporate’s $30 million in revenues comes from e-commerce, and the remainder is wholesale accounts.
By a French licensee, there are a few dozen shops within the south of France and one deliberate for Barcelona, Spain. “We’re simply opening in South Korea, and now we have some potentialities in China. And we’re speaking to some individuals within the Philippines, the place the label was once very massive,” Mercier defined.
Eighty % of gross sales are evenly break up between Europe and the US.
Whereas the trucker hat remains to be the bestselling Von Dutch merchandise, the corporate has expanded its merchandise combine with the assistance of Earl Pickens, the model’s creative director who attended the Artwork Institute of Chicago however has lived in Paris for many years. He briefly had his personal upscale denim model, adopted by roles as creative director for ready-to-wear at Marlboro Worldwide Sportswear, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Charles Jourdan footwear.
New to the gathering are $99 wallets, $149 bowling luggage and $349 in a single day luggage. Not too long ago, Von Dutch launched an eyewear assortment with 9 types and 30 items that remember glasses from iconic a long time. They promote for $290 to $350.
“We’ve got been creating just a few limited-edition issues,” Mercier stated. “We did just a few exams of Italian denim, and we did some silk scarves, however no person wears silk scarves in America. It is rather European.” Von Dutch additionally tried just a few Turkish-made sweaters with leather-based. However these limited-edition objects don’t make up the core assortment.
The label remains to be sturdy in T-shirts, sweats, denim jackets, blue denims, leather-based jackets and tops and people trucker hats that now are available in each colour underneath the rainbow.