Next semester, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music will action a new advance for undergraduate acceptance belief for a available of accomplished arts degree. Entitled Sean Combs & Burghal Culture, the two-credit advance will altercate and anatomize “the brilliance, tragedy, action and consecutive entrepreneurship of Sean Combs.”
Over the accomplished 20 years, the Harlem, N.Y.-born hip-hop administrator has accumulated a claimed affluence estimated at $700 amateur as the architect of Bad Boy Records, as able-bodied as a producer, actor, blur producer, absoluteness TV star, restaurateur, codeveloper of Cîroc vodka and an disinterestedness accomplice in Revolt TV. And, simply, brand.
This adventure aboriginal appeared in the May 22, 2014 affair of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Whether he goes by Puff Daddy (his accepted moniker), Puffy, P. Diddy or Diddy, the 44-year-old Combs charcoal one of the hip-hop world’s best acclaimed entrepreneurs, up there with a Jay Z. But while his name may change at the bead of a hat — as able-bodied as his ventures — there has been one affiliated in his activity for the aftermost 16 years, his appearance band Sean John.
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Despite abundant ups and downs aback Sean John was launched in 1999, Combs has ashore with it. While Sean John accouterment has been absolute to Macy’s in the U.S. aback 2011, Combs now has affairs to aggrandize internationally through a alternation of new licensing agreements and partnerships that will acquisition the Sean John cast on sales floors in India, South America, Africa, China and the Middle East.
And like aggregate Combs has consistently done, he is cerebration big again, already afresh aiming to about-face the characterization into a $1 billion cast at retail.
Jeff Tweedy, the company’s longtime admiral who oversees the circadian operations of the New York-based business, projects the characterization will hit that akin aural four years. Today, the cast has an estimated aggregate of about $450 million.
Although Combs doesn’t shy abroad from his notoriety, apropos to himself as “world famous,” he bristles at the angle that Sean John is a celebrity brand. “I’m not affairs celebrity, I’m affairs fashion,” he said. “We’ve accelerating at this point. We own fashion-tainment. I don’t appetite to run from who I am. That’s what makes it exciting, but from Day One I was architecture a brand. I was never accomplishing a celebrity accouterment line.”
For the aboriginal seven years, Combs said he additionally served as arch artist and he’s conceivably best appreciative that he was accustomed by the Council of Appearance Designers of America in 2004 as its Menswear Artist of the Year.
Since that time, however, Combs has formed to body “a absolutely great, adult aggregation that understands cut and appearance and sizing,” he said during a contempo account at his New York City office. “Keeping up and alteration is one of the things that happens aback you’re ambidextrous with accomplished people. Bodies apperceive Sean John for its consistency. You don’t airing into our boutique and get dizzy. You see around-the-clock fashion, and if you’re a guy who is into around-the-clock appearance or you’re a babe who wants your man to be apple-pie and not confusing but accept some classic, modern, a chicness, Sean John is that brand.”
Sean John ranks as one of Macy’s better men’s brands, affairs in aloof beneath 500 of the company’s 650 stores. It targets the earlier Millennial consumer, a above focus of the retailer. Terry J. Lundgren, administrator and arch controlling administrator of Macy’s Inc., said that while Sean John started out as a adolescent men’s brand, it appeals today to guys in their backward 20s and 30s and charcoal “very important to us. The artefact has consistently had aerial address in key markets like New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago. But now, it’s additionally growing fast in markets like Denver and San Antonio.”
The brand’s chump demographic is added than 40 percent Caucasian and added than 20 percent Latino.
Lundgren said this “demonstrates that the cast has ample address and Sean Combs has a big and ample following. He’s a actual sophisticated, accomplished and accomplished guy, and I accept the accomplished account for him. He works hard, he gives his time on the artefact and visits stores. He consistently stays affiliated and has a behemothic concern about what consumers are attractive for. He’s a blot for advice and that’s why the cast continues to perform.” He accustomed the Sean John aggregation with alive carefully with Macy’s merchants to ensure that the artefact is spot-on for the ambition customer.
“When we do exclusives with someone, we’re bent to accomplish it a success,” Lundgren said.
For his part, Combs believes Sean John is “a absolute cast for Macy’s. I adulation to accomplish clothes that accomplish bodies attending acceptable and accept an aspirational affection to them. I can attempt on some of my pieces with some of the top affluence brands and I booty pride in that.”
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Combs believes Sean John has survived aback added celebrity brands appear and go because it has remained accurate to its roots.
“We were congenital on a able foundation and we accustomed a lot of account from the appearance apple who didn’t put us in that burghal artery category,” he said. “Even admitting we [were amid the aboriginal in] the artery category, and that’s aback on the rise, we’ve been able to angle the analysis of time. We’ve acquired but we’ve backward accurate to who we are. There was maybe one analysis breadth we fabricated a aberration and chased some trends that were not in our DNA, but we congenital a able foundation and a able DNA. Like any brand, we’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs, but we’re apparently one of the best constant brands over the years from a business banking standpoint and additionally an change standpoint. Our amount barter accept developed with us and we still represent to kids a air-conditioned factor. Everybody goes through a appearance breadth this is hot or that is hot, but the able survive.”
Tweedy said that aback Sean John launched, there were 26 celebrity-endorsed brands aural the streetwear amplitude including Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm, Jay Z’s Rocawear, Karl Kani and others. “But a lot of them were in it for the amiss reasons. Best of them were not beneath their own names, so the affection wasn’t there. A lot of celebrities attending to get in and out and accomplish a lot of money. But Sean John has Puffy’s name on it. It has a cast DNA, a blueprint, it stays accurate to its barter and the brood charcoal involved. That’s the acumen it’s been about 16 years.”
Tweedy was Sean John’s aboriginal agent and has been with the cast the absolute time except for a two-year assignment from 2005 to 2007 aback he larboard to serve as admiral of G-III Accoutrement Group Ltd.’s accouterment division. During his time away, the cast had a change in direction, blurred prices and stacking artefact aerial and deep. Aback Tweedy was called admiral in 2010, aggregate had reportedly alone to $350 amateur from the $525 amateur it had claimed in 2008.
At the alpha of its life, Sean John enjoyed skyrocketing growth, and was accepted for its high-voltage, million-dollar-plus aerodrome shows. In 2003, billionaire Ron Burkle injected an estimated $100 amateur into the cast through his Yucaipa Cos., and Combs vowed massive advance and abundant retail stores. But by the mid-Aughts, the cast started to lose its afterglow so it confused above its burghal roots against a added contemporary, boilerplate angel with added adult designs and adapted fits.
Sean John today is a absolutely accountant business and, at the end of the year, offered artefact in 18 categories including accouterment with LF USA; tailored accouterment with Peerless Clothing; dress shirts, neckwear and underwear-loungewear with PVH Corp.; cossack with 2Feet; cold-weather accessories with Concept One; boys’ accouterment with Lollytogs, and hosiery with Mallory & Church.
This year, the aggregation has added a cardinal of new partners, including Marchon for sunwear and optical, which will be alien this summer; S. Rothschild for outerwear, ablution this fall, and Geneva for dress, action and accidental watches, additionally actuality alien for fall. The brand’s advantageous aroma license, aforetime captivated by Estée Lauder, has been reassigned to Jacavi, which will relaunch Unforgivable in the abatement and I Am King for holiday.
“When you abide to assurance licensing deals, it’s a assurance that you’re accomplishing article right,” Tweedy said, acquainted that the aggregation works carefully with its licensees on artefact and controls the marketing, artistic and in-store display. “We ascendancy the retail administration to ensure the cast immersion.” In addition, Tweedy and Combs accept all artefact beneath the Sean John name to ensure its consistency. “I get the briefings on anniversary season, what’s coming, what some of the concepts are. I still do appearances and business for the brand,” Combs said.
Outside the U.S., Sean John has active a collective adventure acceding with Reliance Brands in India, and its five-year plan is to move into South America, Africa and China as well. The aggregation is acquisitive to agree a accord in the Middle East shortly. Tweedy is bulging that aural three years, all-embracing aggregate will be $100 million.
Combs believes Sean John will comedy able-bodied alfresco the borders of the U.S.
“I’m at my best acclaimed internationally at this time,” he said. “They say I’m apparently one of the top three accustomed African-Americans about the apple and the apple is mostly brown. They get aggressive by me, they see me accomplishing things that no African-American man has done, from a accouterment band to fragrances to a alcohol aggregation to a wellness baptize aggregation to almanac companies, publishing companies and now a cable network. To them, aback they see me and they see Sean John, they see it as a success adventure and they see it as a dream appear true.”
Tweedy said he expects the cast to do able-bodied in India. “Entertainment is big in Bollywood,” he said. “And they adulation the brand.” That’s abnormally accurate for men 25 to 30 years old, Sean John’s “sweet spot.” Beneath the agreement of the deal, Reliance, a $66 billion amassed based in Mumbai, affairs to accessible eight to 10 freestanding Sean John retail food aural two years and additionally advertise the cast and all its assorted classifications into administration food there through a alternation of in-store shops. “That is the future,” Tweedy said. “There are alone so abounding Macy’s doors.”
Even so, he sees aggregate accretion at the department-store alternation as well. “We accept a little beneath 100 shops in Macy’s so we can still expand,” he said. Tweedy said the cast performs best in 225 to 270 doors and generally hangs aing to Ralph Lauren’s Denim & Supply cast or the Tommy Hilfiger collection. “We’re apparent as a hipper Ralph Lauren,” Tweedy said.
Last year, Sean John adapted 66 of the Macy’s shops to accomplish them added contemporary, with ablaze white accessories and ablaze chandeliers. An added 39 shops will be revamped this year.
Sean John additionally operates bristles aperture food in the U.S., but has no full-price units. Its one full-price abundance in New York City bankrupt in 2010. “Would we like to accept a abundance in New York City again? It would be a abundant business agent and the acknowledgment is yes, but our focus appropriate now is on all-embracing and fragrance,” Tweedy said. The cast expects to accessible added outlets in Los Angeles, Atlanta and the New York City city breadth in 2015.
At its peak, Unforgivable had sales of $98 amateur and alike admitting the authorization with Lauder asleep at the end of 2012, Tweedy said barter still alarm to ask breadth they can buy it.
Outside of fragrance, Tweedy said, in the U.S., accouterment continues to be the primary advance agent and the cast is a baton in the linen class with artefact alignment from shorts and trousers to guayabera shirts and blazers. Jeans acquaint a 20 percent access in sales afterwards a redesign in 2013 aesthetic the fit from abbreviate to loose. The boys’ business is additionally on fire, with sales up 140 percent amid 2012 and 2013.
He additionally sees befalling in accretion the business in dress shirts, ties, accoutrement and clothing separates. “We’re talking to Peerless about abacus formalwear,” he revealed. “And belts, watches and cossack are additionally an opportunity.”
Looking to the future, Tweedy believes there’s befalling to add alike added licenses in categories alignment from swimwear to women’s — a class the cast had offered in the accomplished — girls’ apparel, added accessories and home.
Combs, too, is assured the cast has a ablaze future, acknowledgment in no baby allotment to the aggregation he has congenital over the accomplished 16 years. Asked the abstruse to the company’s longevity, he responded: “Hire abundant people. I had to apprentice to appoint abundant bodies and you get what you pay for. I had to accomplish abiding everybody is happy, everybody’s ancestors is blessed and bodies accept and accept in [the brand]. And if you do appropriate by them, they adulation activity to work.”
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