EDITOR'S NOTE: I accidently left original Lost partner Mike Reola off the list of investors in the new Lost project. He is still a partner and is on board with the new initiative.
Lost and the La Jolla Group are ending their licensing agreement before it was due to expire, and Lost partners Joel Cooper, Matt Biolos and Mike Reola are taking Lost clothing in-house.
The three are already assembling a team, including designers Dean Bradley and Scott Madison of Atwater; Bruce Friedman, an experienced operations executive who was an important player during Gotcha’s growth who is also becoming a partner in Lost; Andy Crane, a designer and merchandiser who worked with Mossimo, Paul Frank and RVCA; and sales veteran Greg Garrett who helped grow Gotcha to $200 million in sales.
So far, Lost has hired about 10 people, and expects to hire over 20. Lost will use essentially the same sales rep force.
Lost partners Joel, Matt and Mike Reola are investing in the new project, as is Bruce Friedman.
Joel said the parting with La Jolla was amicable. I asked Joel why the change is happening.
“With all the changes in the market, models have changed,” he said. “The licensee/licensor model where two people are collecting checks – that model is not an easy model in this environment,” he said.
La Jolla asked to renegotiate the agreement, and that led to a lot of discussion, including the possibility of selling all together, Joel said.
At the end of the day, the Lost partners thought it was a great opportunity to get control of the brand back.
“The challenge of that is exciting, and the bottom line is that owners running a company – any company - are going to have more passion than a third party,” he said.
La Jolla will ship the spring line, and Lost will ship summer. Lost inherited the previously designed fall sportswear line, but will create some T’s, fleece and other product that is made domestically as well.
The first full-line under the new team will be holiday.
On page 2, Lost's future focus, and Toby Bost's statement