SEAN JOHN COMBS, the rap and clothing impresario even now best known since Puff Daddy, a sobriquet he has abandoned, was before a conference table in the company's Midtown Manhattan head office recently, responding to his designers.
Dressed in a black hockey cap, a black T-shirt and black cut-off denim shorts -- his just flash a large square precious stone stud in each earlobe - he projected a decidedly severe mien. The designers took in intently. When he paused, as he did a couple of times, there were no questions. That they knew to hold back until this individual solicited all their advice.
" There will be only three 'Sean John' Tee shirts in the coming collection, " he said. A few designers let out wispy sighs at such a seemingly self-destructive edict; in fact, clothes with the Sean John name, inventeur or crest make up a huge slice of his industry’s sales. " I'm putting you on rations, " he stated, laughing. " From now on, I need people to browse the name devoid of seeing the name. You get me personally? "
Messing with the name is no little gamble, neither is it the only one he is currently taking. Sean John is already a well known brand - at least in homes with teenagers, who spend about $42 billion 12 months to look great.
Mr. Combs's company, Sean John, features about $400 million of the business, most of it via urban variations like baggy, crotch-at-the leg trousers, plainly branded Tshirts and hooded sweatshirts, or perhaps " hoodies. " Yet Mr. Spines, who occasionally goes by the rapper term P. Diddy but may associates as Puffy, is looking to expand well beyond the metropolitan niche.
A collection of other hiphop and rhythm-and-blues celebrities by Snoop Dogg to BeyoncГ© have decided they may have the style to create clothes, although Mr. Spines is the one who analysts state has the ideal chance of making the change to the mainstream.
That could be especially lucrative intended for Mr. Spines, who, contrary to most of his competitors, offers maintained control of his firm. (By compare, Russell Simmons, another hip hop impresario, offered his Phat Fashions to Kellwood, a huge clothing developer, for $140 million this past year. )
" Sean Ruben felt he has the weigh to go this alone, " said Eric M. Beder, an analyst at Brean Murray & Company, a New York expenditure bank.
Going it alone, though, means having to deal with some serious problems, beginning with two years of more or less toned sales and a net loss recently. That is compounded by indications that the urbanwear trend is definitely past their peak, and by basic business problems just like disorganized syndication. Then you will discover the distractions inherent in being element of an informal miniconglomerate that has at times included businesses as varied as music publishing and advertising and restaurants.
Mister. Combs has started to address each one of these issues. Started by parting ways having a longtime friend and the executive vice president of Sean Steve, Jeffrey Tweedy, and exchanging him with Robert M. Wichser, the former chief executive of the Joseph Abboud Apparel Organization. Mr. Spines is also going to broaden beyond urbanwear - initially into a line of women's clothes, and next into a host of licensed items, including natural leather sneakers, devices and wheel rims.
The achievements of this strategy is far from certain, but Mister. Beder, and various other analysts, lenders and even opponents, says Mr. Combs stands a good probability, in part because he is so privately involved. He directs his own designers, and Esten John makes 70 percent of its own garments; most celebrity-branded gear is made under license by others. " If he can get the women's operating, he can become a true lifestyle brand, " Mr. Beder said. " Sean Ruben can become more than just Puff Daddy's company. "
Before this individual hired Mister. Wichser in-may, Mr. Spines held it of chief executive. Mr. Wichser had stated he wouldn't sign on to perform Sean Steve without that title -- and the power to match. Mister. Combs has also hired Jon Cropper, a former executive of Quincy Roberts Productions, while chief marketing officer of Bad Boy Around the world Entertainment,...