Growing Anne Klein
Once Frank came on board, I worried less about spending so much time in Japan. He did a very good job not only maintaining capital but also heightening awareness of the company. Frank was exactly the man I needed for the job. In addition, the color-coordination and mix-and-match philosophy worked well together, perhaps better than I had initially anticipated.
For a few years, I let Frank run the company on his own. I would return to New York from time to time to get a status report, and I consistently saw the Anne Klein Company doing well. However, my vision had yet to materialize. After handling the mess in Japan to my satisfaction, I yearned for something new. So I started looking for apartments in New York. I wanted to spend more time at Anne Klein to guide Frank and the company in the right direction.
Although Anne Klein had been successful thus far, our growth was confined to the designer label. Those who could afford to pay top prices for our garments did, and those who could not, didn’t. High-end brands are pricey and only the upper-economic crust can indulge—let alone become repeat customers. I wanted the company to branch out and cater not only to the wealthy but also to the massive—and ever-growing—middle class. The first step had been incorporating season-to-season color coordination along with mix-and-match options; however, this tactic did not change material costs. In addition, high-end brands need other kinds of emotional value as their ...