In May Thom Browne’s CEO and CFO abruptly left the label. Rumors swirled throughout the spring that Browne would file for bankruptcy. He’d been looking to sell a minority stake for three years but was unable to find a partner. Meanwhile, laid-off bankers quickly unloaded their $2,000 Thom Browne flood pants in consignment shops while retail sales remained painfully slow.
But spring is over, the nasty rumors have settled, and the trees and Thom’s bank account are green again! He just hired a new CEO named Josh Sparks, who will start July 16. He also finally sold a minority stake to the Japanese-based Cross Company. Sparks told WWD Cross made a “multimillion dollar” investment for a “relatively small minority share.” Cross could invest more in the label but, whether or not they do, Sparks is determined to keep money coming in by selling things. Remember when that happened? At the forefront of his genius strategy is making the label cheaper. He plans to cut prices 20 to 30 percent. Currently suits start at $2,800. He also wants to bring the total number of Thom Browne stores from 45 to 150 to 200 over the next three years.
Sparks also plans to introduce new licensing deals, the first of which could be announced next week. Just think: Thom Browne flood sunglasses, Thom Browne flood cologne, Thom Browne flood home, Thom Browne flood underpants — anything’s possible. Sparks has not confirmed that new Thom Browne products would come truncated at the bottom like his sexy short pants, but such a concept could figure nicely into branding strategy.