New Owners Slice and Dice Hurley
Bluestar Alliance, Hurley’s new owner, has signed a variety of new licensing agreements for several categories and more are in the works, SES has learned.
The new licensees will be at Surf Expo and will meet with retailers and tell them about the new arrangements.
The current Hurley team will ship through Holiday 2020, which is a line they designed and manufactured. However, licensees are expected to take over starting with Spring 2021.
We learned these details from someone with close knowledge of the situation. We have repeatedly reached out to Bluestar for comment, but they have declined to talk.
New licensees include:
Men’s – United Legwear
Women’s – Hybrid Apparel
Swim – Inmocean
Other licensing agreement are also supposedly done or in the works for outerwear, the Hurley.com business, the retail stores, cosmetics, kids, and footwear.
The operating model that Bluestar is pursuing appears to be very similar to Body Glove’s multi-category licensing approach.
The new Hurley owners are also reportedly shutting down Hurley’s wholly owned subsidiaries in several international territories to pursue licensing agreements.
Currently, approximately 175 people work at Hurley’s Costa Mesa headquarters. About 55 employees have been hired by the new men’s licensee United Legwear, we are told. A few have also been hired by the women’s and swim licensees.
The new owners are also slashing the athlete budget and have not renewed several contracts that were up at the end of 2019, including Rob Machado, Michel Bourez, and Jesse Billauer, the founder of Life Rolls On.
Bluestar is reportedly looking for loopholes in contracts for even the most high-profile athletes to use as leverage to renegotiate terms.
Is unclear who will handle overall marketing and brand management of the Hurley brand once the licensing model kicks in.
We are told the existing Hurley employees are stunned by the speed with which all these changes are happening but that some of legacy crew are being very supportive of each other.
On the other hand, it has also made for a very awkward situation with current employees vying for a very limited number of jobs with licensees. Those without jobs with licensees are waiting and wondering when the axe will fall.
While the new owners may be expecting business to continue as usual for Holiday 2020 orders, several retailers we have talked to are very leery of the situation and are unhappy that more information has not been forthcoming about the go-forward plan.
Core retailers are especially concerned about what Hurley’s distribution will look like in the future.