News & Scoops

2011 April 7

Mary-Kate and Ashley Launch

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Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen
Patrick McMullan
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(NEW YORK) Forget a Pinot or pear of the month - with the July launch of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's, members of the new digital venture will get a monthly dose of Olsen fashion sense in the form of items like $29.99 t-shirts. The child stars turned retailing entreprenteurs are partnering with Josh Berman, a co-founder of MySpace, and his Santa Monica-based BeachMint Inc. for their latest project. StyleMint members will take style quizzes which the site's predictive algorithms use to hone in on the most suitable items on the site to offer as monthly purchase recommendations. The site also harnesses social networks to function as the digital version of a friend's opinion from outside the fitting room, by offering members the option of linking to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. In addition to the affordable basics on offer through StyleMint, the twins will be creating videos for the site.
The latest Olsen venture is akin to JewelMint, the first fashion endeavor by BeachMint Inc. launched in October, which offers a jewelry-of-the-month collection with personalized suggestions for members, priced at $29.99 and curated by Kate Bosworth and her stylist, Cher Coulter. BeachMint Inc. was launched in June by Berman and fellow MySpace vet Diego Berdakin. To date, the partners have raised $15 million in seed money through two rounds of venture capital funds.

StyleMint's debut in July will consist of eight t-shirts in cotton and Modal blend, offered in a spectrum of neutrals plus an option in stripes. The shirts will be produced by Jaya Apparel Group, which already works with the Olsens as license partner for Elizabeth and James, their denim offshoot label Textile Elizabeth and James, and as manufacturer for the lower-priced Olsenboye collection sold at J.C. Penney.  

The Olsens' retailing acumen and design savvy can be traced back to when the twins, now 24, released their tween Walmart collection at the tender age of 12. "We were really designing it... jeans, a bit bohemian, or with a little blazer. It was really fashion-forward," Mary-Kate told Vogue last month. Dualstar Entertainment Group, the Olsen-owned brand management company that oversees their variety of ventures in fashion and beyond, currently has retail sales totaling $1 billion, according to Vogue. The twins' projected revenue from the StyleMint deal has not yet been disclosed by BeachMint Inc.'s Berman and Dualstar.

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