“It’s Been Painful to Watch”: Juicy Couture Founders Discuss The Fall Of Their Brand

June 27, 2014  |  

It’s the end of an era! Gone are the days when women wore hot pink tracksuits with “Juicy Couture” splashed across their derrieres — the once-glam brand is now shutting down 100-plus U.S. stores. In a Huffington Post interview, co-founders Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor reveal their disappointment regarding the collapse of the Juicy empire.

“It’s been painful to watch the brand fall…” Skaist-Levy said. “We wanted Juicy to be the great American girly brand. It was our legacy.” Their dreams were crushed as Juicy Couture trickled down from swanky flagship boutiques into department stores — the shelves of Kohl’s, to be specific.

At the apex of Juicy Couture’s appeal, celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria, Nicole Ritchie and Britney Spears were all seen sporting Juicy on their off days. In 2003, Skaitst-Levy and Nash-Taylor sold the hit fashion line to Liz Claiborne for $53.1 million — oh, and did I mention that Juicy was only a $200 start up?

Things were going well — ’til founders made one fatal mistake: Not adapting the Juicy line to survive the ever-changing fashion environment. Sales plummeted and Juicy just couldn’t re-create the craze it  once had with its berry-colored tracksuits. After a couple of spats with the chief executive, Bill McComb, Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor quit Juicy and Liz Claiborne.

“…When you have a company like Juicy, when you sell it, there’s always a chance that someone will not see the vision the same way we did, and you have to live with that,” Nash-Taylor told HuffPo.

Don’t worry though, if you’re a big fan of the brand, the brand’s current owners aren’t quite done squeezing Juicy for all it’s got. Last fall, Authentic Brands Group — a licensing company — purchased Juicy for $195 million. What’s the new plan? HuffPo explains:

“The new Juicy will divide its products into two tiers. The regular wares will still be sold in places like Kohl’s, while a new, premium “black label” line will be available online and in the forthcoming boutique shops.”

The label told British Vogue that the “brand is strong and thriving globally, with nearly 200 stores around the world.” Moreover, the label says of the stores that are being closed: “These stores were opened under the previous owner of the brand and are no longer representative of the Juicy Couture brand today and our vision for the brand’s future. We plan to open new concept US stores in new locations in 2015.”

As for the Juicy co-founders, they’re starting a new chapter in their lives — Pam & Gela.  The line is already available at ritzy department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s.

“Juicy is just not our baby anymore,” Skaist-Levy said. “It’s like thinking about your high school boyfriend. He was cute then, and that was all good, but that was the past.”

Like relationships, if you don’t spice it up, things will lose their allure.

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