After wresting back control of her $1 billion brand, Jessica Simpson is leaning on a former partner to help fund growth and expansion.
The Jessica Simpson Collection secured a $67.5 million loan from Schottenstein affiliates Second Avenue Capital Partners (SACP), the lending arm of SB360 Capital Partners. On Wednesday, the singer, actor, CEO and co-founder, who launched the line along with mother and business partner Tina Simpson in 2005, said the funding will expand the company’s portfolio.
“While this facet of our relationship may be new, our experience with Schottenstein goes back to our roots,” The “Dukes of Hazard” star said, referring to the collection’s origins under the Camuto Group, which was run by the late footwear and apparel designer Vince Camuto before it sold to Schottenstein’s Designer Brands Group and Authentic Brands Group in 2018.
The Simpsons retained a 37.5-percent stake in the Jessica Simpson Collection when it was acquired by Sequential Brands Group (SBG) in 2015, though they always wanted to regain full ownership. The chance came in November, with bankrupt SBG offloaded yoga brand Gaiam, Justin Timberlake’s apparel line William Rast and Joe’s Jeans. The singer paid $65 million for Sequential’s 62.5 percent stake in her namesake label.
Now an expansion is in the works. The Jessica Simpson Collection currently touches 37 categories, including footwear, apparel, fragrance, luggage, fashion accessories, handbags, jewelry, maternity apparel, girls’ clothing, and home goods. The company added five new licensed categories—skincare, health and wellness, demi-fine jewelry and furniture—with five more in negotiations.
Under the Simpsons’ ownership, the Jessica Simpson Collection outperformed its year-ago first quarter by 15 percent, chief financial officer Jeffrey Howald said. “We’ve also undergone an aggressive expansion into international sales,” he added. Licensing partners and financial backers have a “renewed energy and belief in the future of the brand” now that the Simpsons have regained the reins, Tina said.
SACP managing director Mike Sullivan believes the collection “transcends [Simpson’s] celebrity.” The Jessica Simpson Collection is “a dynamic founder-driven company that can use our capital to fuel the next chapter of their success story,” he said.
“Jessica and Tina have spent years building a tremendously successful lifestyle brand by offering customers a quality product at an affordable price point,” SACP president Aaron Miller said, noting the line’s relatability for women of all ages. “It’s impressive to see what the team has accomplished since their recent re-acquisition and we are excited to provide this financing to further fuel growth.”
The celebrity herself pointed to the wisdom of her one-time mentor. “Vince used to say, ‘without the right people, you’re nowhere.’ We have that in our management team, we count on it from our licensing partners, and now we can rely on it from our financing partner,” she said. “It feels amazing to have full control of our company, and with the right support in place, the sky’s the limit.”