BBC International President Bob Campbell, who bought the North American rights to the label two years ago, has formed a joint venture with Titan Industries Chairman and CEO Joe Ouaknine, who will head the new firm, Charles Jourdan North America.
“The name is fantastic,” said Ouaknine. “The brand has never had a bad image. It’s been gone for a few years, but it’s a great brand with so much history attached to it.”
The collection is aimed at women in their 30s who might still remember the heyday of the brand. It will feature contemporary styling, as well as designs from the Charles Jourdan archives.
“We’ll have young shoes with attitude,” said Ouaknine, adding that the timing of the debut, slated for November, is fortuitous given the current state of retail. “When business is bad, you can either sit where you are or bring something new. I’m confident that the market will embrace something like this.”
The company will operate out of Titan’s Huntington Beach, Calif., offices, though the line will have its own designers and sales force. Ouaknine said the distribution plan is to secure placement in department stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Dillard’s, as well as specialty boutiques and online outlets. Price points for the line have not yet been determined.
For his part, Campbell said shoes are the first part of a larger goal of reintroducing the Charles Jourdan name, with accessories and apparel likely to follow. “We’ll be looking to license the other categories,” he said. “The launch will be in footwear, but we own the rights [in North America] to everything except for fragrance.”
A worldwide brand relaunch is unlikely, though. In December, Groupe Royer bought the rights to the brand in France for $3.2 million, including seven stores, as well as factory equipment.
Still, Campbell said there could be some coordination between the two companies to help raise the profile of the label. “They are brand new, and we’re in the process of working with them,” he said. “It’s to the advantage of the brand for us to work together.”