We had mentioned last year how L.A.M.B. had signed a multi-year handbag licensing deal with Artisan House,but now Women’s Wear Daily is reporting that L.A.M.B. has left Artisan House due to declining sales and signed a licensing deal with Titan Industries,which the company had hinted about on their facebook page recently with an announcement of Fall 2013 bags coming soon. (Titan also has a licensing deal with L.A.M.B. shoes.) A spokeswoman for Gwen said that the split with Artisan was “amicable” and that she continues to produce her Harajuku Lovers and Harajuku Mini collections with Fab Starpoint,the children’s accessories company with the same owner as Artisan. We wish Gwen,her L.A.M.B. team and Titan the very best with future collections.
Artisan House, Steve Russo’s contemporary handbag endeavour, appears to be under pressure.
According to sources, Artisan House, the upscale spin-off of Russo’s lucrative children’s accessories company Fab Starpoint, has not only lost Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. license, but is also losing employees in various departments, including public relations, marketing, sales, graphics and design. The latest, and perhaps biggest, departure is Dana Foley, cofounder of Foley + Corinna, the quirky lifestyle handbag and apparel brand Russo purchased two years ago.
Russo did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.
With a stable of six relatively well-known brands, Artisan House, which launched in late 2011, had emerged as a potential powerhouse in the highly competitive contemporary handbag market.
Although Carlos Falchi had left Artisan for a licensing deal with LF USA in 2011, Russo had Charlotte Ronson and L.A.M.B. signed to multiyear deals. Russo, who previously owned Isabelle Fiore, also bought Danielle Nicole and Foley + Corinna and launched Narr, an upscale exotics bag line.
But last year L.A.M.B. left after sales slumped, and Russo pulled the plug on Narr within three months of its creation due in part to high costs, according to people familiar with the situation.
“A high-end collection doesn’t take off in one season,” a source said, referring to the quick closure of Narr. “It takes time to nurture and grow.”
A Gwen Stefani spokeswoman confirmed that L.A.M.B. is no longer with Artisan, but noted that the split was “amicable.” While the brand signed a licensing deal with Titan Industries, Stefani continues to produce her Harajuku Lovers and Harajuku Mini collections with Russo’s Fab.
Former employees charged changes at Artisan are related to management’s reluctance to invest in growing the various brands.