When American Legend
President and CEO, Joe Morelli
makes his move to extend his Blackglama
line into luxury brand territory, the fur, as the expression goes, will fly.
Morelli was recently interviewed by Redbook VP Koral Kanca about his plans to extend his popular Blackglama mink line into a luxury brand similar to the brand extensions done by such well known entities as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci. Blackglama, as the world’s most coveted mink, is according to Morelli, a natural for a luxury line extension.
“The idea is to build more of a holistic luxury brand. Certainly I’m not naïve enough to think that we are anywhere close to being a Louis Viutton
, or a Chanel
or a Gucc
i today. But this is our foray into this. All of those brands started in one particular product category as well”, says Morelli.
The idea to extend the Blackglama
line came after Morelli took a long, hard look at his industry.
“The auction houses beat each other up over mink supply. Every year it’s a hundred thousand mink come here and a hundred thousand mink go there – there’s got to be something better. At the same time, it also seemed that every year we do all this great planning and we all hold our breath that the weather is cold in China, in Russia, in Korea. All of a sudden it’s a warm winter and we all feel [bad] because we fail. Or let’s flip that around. Everyone had a great year this past year because it was so cold in China. We could all be really poor planners and have a great year by accident”, explains Morelli.
Morelli began to question what would happen if the Blackglama brand wasn’t so dependent on the weather.
“What if there was a way that this consumer, who loves our brand those 3 cold months of the year, what if we could have her needs met in June somehow, or in September? Why not give her other options?”
In creating these options, Morelli used his experience with Nike as a template for his plans to roll out new products under the Blackglama brand.
He uses the example of Nike’s Air Jordans – a much anticipated annual product release that sold for $300 a pair. “Kids all around the world would lineup at retail to hopefully get a pair of those Air Jordans,” says Morelli.
But Nike realized that there was a whole market out there who didn’t have the resources to purchase $300 shoes, yet still desired to be a part of the Nike brand. So they came up with a line of less expensive shoes that were similar to Air Jordan’s, but were more reasonable, allowing more consumers to experience and embrace the Nike brand.
“I’m trying to apply that same analogy with Blackglama,” says Morelli. “For the younger woman who can’t afford that $15,000 Blackglama coat, but still wants to be part of the ‘club’ and can afford a $1000 purse or a $400 pair of sunglasses”.