The deal would no doubt inject some more major celebrity wattage to the company, potentially turning the attention of a whole new set of consumers not already shopping from TechStyle’s Fabletics, ShoeDazzle, JustFab or FabKids brands.
A publicist for Rihanna and Shawn Gold, TechStyle corporate marketing officer, declined to comment on the deal. A firm launch date could not be learned, but sources said TechStyle has been working on the project for more than a year and samples have already been produced.
The deal with Rihanna would certainly be in keeping with the group’s overall M.O. for a portfolio of brands that have at one time or another been linked with a celebrity. In more recent times that’s been Kate Hudson, who is counted as a cofounder for the company’s fastest-growing and youngest brand, Fabletics. ShoeDazzle was cofounded by Kim Kardashian in 2009, alongside Brian Lee and Robert Shapiro. And, Kimora Lee Simmons once held the president title at JustFab before moving on to redirect focus to her KLS line.
The line with Rihanna, the source said, is viewed as a key strategic move in TechStyle’s efforts to file for an initial public offering, something executives have never shied away from discussing as a possible exit option. TechStyle’s raised about $300 million to date.
“They’re of a size now that adding another brand, adding another category, would make sense to round out the product offering,” speculated Lloyd Greif, president and chief executive officer of Los Angeles investment bank Greif & Co., which is not involved with the company. “What they want to do is show growth. The key to going public is having a growth track record or having growth in their windshield, not in the rearview mirror of the company so I’m sure the Rihanna brand play would be to convince the market that the company has strong growth ahead because IPOs are all about growth ahead.”