FN Platform: Secrets of a Successful Celebrity Biz

Not surprisingly, today’s celebrity footwear world is more competitive than ever.

While star-backed brands can certainly be lucrative, building them into major businesses takes plenty of hard work and dedication, according to Bob Goldman, founder and CEO of Chinese Laundry, and Joe Ouaknine, founder and CEO of Titan Industries.

The two execs shared their insights about the celebrity world during a panel discussion with Footwear News women’s editor Kristen Henning on Tuesday morning.

“There isn’t a week we don’t get approached with [a potential deal], but the ratio of success is very small,” said Ouaknine, about the complexity of the market.

Goldman, who partnered with reality star Kristin Cavallari on a line, said the celeb’s dedication to her brand has been critical to its success.

“She believes in the product and wants to build the brand image,” Goldman said. “Her lifestyle is what the millennial girl wants to have.”

Still, it took time for both parties to develop expectations for the brand. “It was difficult at the beginning because she didn’t understand the business aspects,” he explained.

Ouaknine, who has worked with Gwen Stefani for more than a decade, said the songstress’ involvement has helped the company create two unique lines: L.A.M.B. and the newly launched Gx by Gwen Stefani.

“She is very involved and has her own point of view. Her shoes are special, and she knows what she wants,” he said. “Plus, 90 percent of the time she’s wearing her own shoes.”

The execs agreed that working around Stefani and Cavallari’s frenetic schedules can be challenging at times. While personal appearances are an effective way to court consumers, social media has become equally important. “Time can be difficult, but it’s about developing a consistent message,” Goldman said.

Looking ahead, Ouaknine, who has two more celeb deals in the works, will debut a luxe sneaker line with Stefani later this year.

And Goldman is busy building Cavallari’s business, particularly in the bootie category.

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