Jessica Rich is on the move. After launching her eponymous brand five years ago, her next phase of growth continues as she takes space in fashion’s biggest department stores. The brand currently has multiple retail locations and is sold at Nordstrom, DSW, and most recently, Bloomingdale’s.
In November, she launched with the Brown Bag company online and in five U.S. locations. She also just upped her Nordstrom footprint from 5 locations to 20, including in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago and Houston.
Rich added that she is launching with two more additional retailers, but couldn’t release details as of yet. She also has her own direct-to-consumer e-commerce site as well as a physical store at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.
“Wholesale was needed for my business for more brand awareness,” she told FN. “I just want to keep that momentum going.”
The Grand Rapids, Mich., native — who first dabbled in entertainment as a PR executive then reality TV star — is ready to take her success to the next level. While she is currently self-funded, Rich said the next step in her business is to find investors.
“I’ve always done everything on my own,” she explained. “I’ve always been so safe with what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. But for me to get this far without extra capital to do really what I want — like have massive billboards in Times Square — there’s just levels that I haven’t even touched.”
The celebrity-favorite brand known for its PVC heels has already caught the eyes of stars Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Jenner and Cardi B. Now, Steve Madden is paying attention.
Late late month, Rich and Madden sat down for what Rich described as an “iconic” meeting.
“He reached out to Nordstrom and asked about my brand and he requested to meet with me. He is such a legend. I mean, he started in a time where there was no one like him, and he’s there still is no one like him. I’m so impressed with what he did, and he’s impressed with what I am doing, my price points, so we may be working together in some capacity. Stay tuned.”
While we wait and see what’s to come from the duo, Rich said Madden left her with some unfiltered advice: “I think you’re amazing. Don’t take sh*t from anyone.”
The Jessica Rich brand is seeing expansion on the design front as well.
While she made a mark in the footwear industry with her transparent, PVC styles, Rich said it was time to launch an expanded assortment for spring ’22 filled with new materials and color.
“My spring collection is something that no one’s ever seen before. It’s like nothing I ever thought I would be doing. I’m actually designing past PVC because that shows really what kind of designer you are,” she said.