Sunday, July 7, 2024

True Religion Expands Jewelry Line as Part of Growth Strategy

True Religion, traditionally known for its denim, is expanding its jewelry business with the launch of new collections in collaboration with K&M Accessories and NES Group. The new offerings include necklaces, bracelets, charms, chains, and earrings, priced between $28 and $62. These items will be available at True Religion stores, on, and through select wholesalers, featuring the brand’s iconic horseshoe and Buddha imagery.

The jewelry collections, aimed at both men and women, are part of True Religion’s broader strategy to enhance its accessories division, which currently accounts for 20% of the company’s sales, including items like fragrances, hats, and bags. CEO Michael Buckley emphasized that the push into jewelry is crucial for boosting the women’s segment of their business, which they aim to grow from 40% to 50% of total revenue by 2026.

True Religion views jewelry as an accessible entry point for consumers, especially during a period when many are cutting back on discretionary spending. “Every touch point that we can get a different customer into the brand, or even get more product to the consumer that loves True Religion, the better it is for us to grow,” Buckley said. The brand projects jewelry wholesale sales to reach between $5 million and $10 million this year, with royalties boosting overall revenue.

The expansion into jewelry comes amid reports of a potential change in ownership for True Religion. Farmstead Capital Management, the current owner, initiated a sale process in January, exploring interest from consumer-focused private equity groups and publicly traded apparel companies. True Religion’s sales totaled around $280 million in 2023, up from $255 million in 2021.

Having filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and again in 2020, True Religion is now capitalizing on the resurgence of Y2K-era styles. The brand has made significant strides in digital engagement, launching a mobile app in 2022 after noting that 80% of its e-commerce sales were from mobile devices. Additionally, True Religion has opened new stores in various international markets, including China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and sells in major retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s.

True Religion’s move into jewelry allows the brand to test demand in markets where it does not have standalone stores. Buckley stated, “We’ll be looking at the sales that [the licensees] are generating, but we’ll also be looking at touch points. Were they able to get another consumer into this brand from places where we don’t currently sell?”

Jessica Ramírez, senior research analyst at Jane Hali & Associates, noted that jewelry typically offers better margins than other aspects of women’s fashion, which could be advantageous for True Religion. Similarly, Gabriella Santaniello, founder of A Line Partners, believes jewelry could drive multiple unit sales and be effectively marketed by associates in stores.

True Religion continues to diversify its product range, having recently introduced denim shapewear and partnered with Envogue for home products. Despite these efforts, Ramírez remains skeptical about True Religion’s competitive edge in the current market. She asserts, “There’s a lot more that needs to happen with True Religion to name it a true success.”

Overall, True Religion’s foray into jewelry is part of a broader trend among denim brands to expand into non-denim categories, mirroring moves by companies like Levi Strauss & Co. Buckley remains optimistic, stating, “Each of these categories that we license gives us the ability to get to the consumer through a different channel, through a different retailer.”

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