Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen recently sat down with The Telegraph to talk about where they see their fashion business going in the next ten years, even though, apparently, they hate questions like that. Mary-Kate said, “My answers are always sarcastic to this. I always say taller.” But these young women actually do have plans to expand their fashion business quite a bit over the next few years, including a move into luxury lifestyle retail.
According to Telegraph writer Sheryl Garratt, “They want to be a luxury lifestyle brand, selling globally. They are about to launch handbags for The Row, and then for Elizabeth & James. They want to do shoes for The Row, and although they have temporarily shelved a foray into menswear for the label, they plan to revisit it later. And eventually they will open their own stores.”
In addition to being the marketing masterminds and design team behind fashion lines Elizabeth & James, Olsenboye and The Row and being the CEOs of their holding company Dualstar (which has annual sales of $1 billion), the Olsen twins have now moved into the world of E-commerce with their new site Stylemint, which launched in July. They also recently partnered with TOMS Shoes.
Garratt wrote “There are still only a handful of women working at this level in fashion, and fewer still who have packed the experience the Olsens have into their 25 years. They have, Mary-Kate says wearily at one point, already had a few lifetimes.”
What should always be noted with the Olsen twins move into fashion is that they actively tried to not use their celebrity status to promote their clothing when they launched The Row. “We didn’t want people to know that we were behind it,” Ashley told The Telegraph. They even considered hiring a front man. “We’d learnt so much about building brands and talking to a specific customer. We did it with our faces at the beginning, and we knew we didn’t want to do that any more. It’s far more fun this way.” The Row brings in about $10 to $12 million in sales annually.
Last month, The Row was shortlisted for the New Talent award at America’s prestigious CFDA Fashion Awards, and in April the label had a major feature inVogue and also received the endorsement of First Lady Michelle Obama, who wore its pleated skirt for an appearance on television.