2011 March 10

From Rock & Republic To Ronan

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Andréa Bernholtz Andréa Bernholtz
Patrick McMullan
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Rock & Republic co-founder Andréa Bernholtz doesn’t let a little thing like bankruptcy get her down. While VF Corp is busy overhauling the Chapter 11 company, Bernholtz and fellow Rock alum Michael Ball are back on the scene with a new venture. They're launching Ronan, an LA-produced line of men's and women's denim and sportswear along with women's shoes. Their first collection is slated to hit stores this fall: denim will retail for $140-180, leather jackets for $200-400, and shoes for $225-525. Chic phoned the jean connoisseur to chat about her new line and the “B” word, as she likes to call it.

Is bankruptcy the worst?
The thing with the bankruptcy is that it was a Chapter 11. It was very calculated and planned—it wasn’t forced. As a company itself, we were not a bankrupt company, this is just a reorganization. The “B” word is scary, but the timing of everything worked out. It was time to change gears. I’m really proud of what I did at Rock, and I have no doubt that I’m going to be more successful with Ronan because of everything I learned along the way. It’s like having a second child. Make your mistakes with your first one and your second one is like, ‘Ok, I got this.'

What did Rock & Republic teach you?
Being super focused. We grew too fast, and spread out into a lot of different categories that we didn’t license out.

How did you decide on the name "Ronan?"
We’ve taken the name and put a twist on it. It means a leader, not a follower—someone who forges their own path. It comes from a place of strength, and at the time, we were winding everything down with Rock and we wanted to do the opposite of everything Rock was. 

How is Ronan opposite?
In the last collection that we had in our last life, it kind of wore you. It was very specialized and over the top. And there were a lot of things we made in Rock & Republic that the buyers didn’t want to buy so much. We were pigeonholed. This gave us more flexibility.

You met Michael when the two of you were actors auditioning for a commercial. What TV spots did you nab?
Arby’s Roast Beef, Miller Beer, Taco Bell.

Could we see any on YouTube?
I’ve never tried. I want to see them. I actually did a jean commercial years ago...

What would a Ronan commercial look like?
Something subtly sexy that wasn’t too in your face. I think a lot of commercials and advertisements, especially in the denim world, have a half-naked person draped over another half-naked man. I’d want to capture more of the product and the spirit of the company.



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