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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023

Cherokee Targets Chinese Market with Website

Apparel brand licensing company Cherokee Inc., best known for its apparel lines sold at Target, has launched an online store on China’s largest e-commerce website, Tmall.com. The Van Nuys company first entered the Chinese market in 2010 at RT Mart stores, a chain that sells groceries, apparel and other goods. Cherokee is sold at 221 RT Mart locations. Cherokee Chief Executive Henry Stupp said sales at RT Mart increased more than 40 percent since 2011. In addition, almost 60 percent of online shoppers in China are between the ages of 25 and 35, a target demographic for the brand. “The timing could not have been better to join Tmall.com,” Stupp said in an email. “China has the largest buying population in the world. China is also the world’s fastest-growing major economy. It offers the perfect platform to broaden our customer base.” Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for New York market research firm NPD Group Inc., said that apparel is one of the fastest-growing markets in China and establishing a presence early is crucial. “As China becomes more modern and continues Westernizing, competition will grow. Entry now is much easier than it will be,” he said. Several other American apparel brands already have storefronts on the site, including Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. Tmall.com claimed total apparel sales of about $9 billion last year. Cherokee brands are sold in more than 40 countries worldwide with global retail sales of almost $2 billion. Brewing Expansion For the third time since 2007, Fireman’s Brew Inc. is conducting a private stock offering to raise capital for expansion. The Woodland Hills microbrewery is offering 6.25 million shares of common stock at 80 cents a share. The minimum purchase is 6,250 shares for $5,000. The company was founded in 2005 and began expanding out of California last year, using $835,000 from a previous private stock offering to penetrate the Arizona, Colorado and Illinois markets, said Chief Operating Officer David Johnson. This year, Fireman’s Brew has already started distributing in Nebraska and Nevada. “Our goal is to be in 10 states by April,” Johnson said. The company experienced 325 percent sales growth last year, Johnson said, prompting the company to start thinking about going public in the future. “It’s something we have on our radar,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen in the future, but it’s an option.” Eric Shepard, executive editor at New York consulting firm Beer Marketer’s Insights, said craft breweries are seeing a big opportunity to increase distribution at the national level. And despite a growing number of specialty beers, there is still room in the market. “There will have to be a limit on distribution eventually, but we’re not there yet,” he said. The offering will close in September and is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, it is subject to regulations issued by the California Department of Corporations, limiting the offering to qualified investors. To date, the company said it has received 27 new investors from the offering. Voila! La Voila, an in-home hair, makeup and nail service from New York, has arrived in the San Fernando Valley. Maria Velissaris, founder and chief executive of the company, brought La Voila to the area after a first year in New York during which the company became a preferred vendor at W Hotels and the Bryant Park Hotel in Manhattan. La Voila has 10 stylists to serve the L.A. area. Velissaris said busy stay-at-home moms in affluent communities within the Valley are the customers the company is targeting. “It’s a reprieve for those who are too busy to spend all Saturday waiting in a salon,” she said. Prices for services can range anywhere from $45 for a manicure to $350 for a hair, makeup and nail service from the company’s “Glam Squad.” Elizabeth TenHouten, an author and beauty expert in Los Angeles, said the company will find the Valley a fertile market. “Regular women want the celebrity treatment,” she said. “They want to compete with the women in magazines.” To achieve the celebrity look, La Voila employs contract stylists with experience that include working at Walt Disney Co. studios and with renowned personalities such as Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendez. Velissaris said she is looking to get contracts in the movie and television industries in the Valley to provide studio and on-location services. The company is already in talks with studios in Burbank, home to Disney and Warner Bros. “That’s half the reason we’re out here,” she said. Staff Reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or egolan@sfvbj.com

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