Models Turned Moguls: 3 Promising Retail Ventures From Former Catwalk Queens

When it comes to launching a retail brand, particularly in the world of fashion and beauty, supermodels have an advantage. Consumers already look to models as sources for fashion and beauty inspiration. The top supermodels have instant credibility. In addition, they know how to market themselves and to build a brand. 

So it makes sense that these influencers might launch their own retail ventures to capitalize on their status. Here are three model-backed brands to watch.

1. Co + Co by Coco Rocha

Co + Co is a collaboration between Rocha and her artist husband James Conran, along with Paragon Project, a Los Angeles-based fashion collective. Rocha serves as designer and brand ambassador, while Conran serves a creative collaborator. Rocha launched the brand in conjunction with the revamp of her personal website, creating a well-rounded digital brand for her millions of social followers to engage with. Co + Co is a contemporary apparel line that blends bold prints and hues with clean lines to deliver unique, yet affordable, pieces that -- much like Rocha herself -- appeal to fashion forward women across the globe.

Dubbed by some as 'the world's first digital supermodel' because of her early adoption of social media and passion for technology, Rocha has been increasingly vocal about the need for increased collaboration between leaders in tech and fashion to fuel innovation in both industries. She made headlines for her participation in a panel at South by Southwest Interactive, and her consistent presence in conversation around the intersection of fashion and technology is likely to drive additional interest in Co + Co. Participating in these conversations allows Rocha to get in front of potential partners, investors and consumers alike, which positions her brand for continued success.



2. Heidi Klum Intimates by Heidi Klum

For a woman who skyrocketed to fame as a Victoria's Secret angel, it makes perfect sense for Heidi Klum to launch a lingerie line of her own. But it's not just its famous founder that sets Heidi Klum Intimates up for success, the former Angel has made some wise decisions regarding merchandising strategy.

Klum's line carries sizes that go well beyond what Victoria's Secret and other popular lingerie brands offer. She offers several bras with cup sizes that range from A to J, with bands ranging from 30 to 44. The line also includes maternity bras, and two special collections -- 'HEIDI by Heidi Klum' and 'HK Man.' The HEIDI by Heidi Klum collection offers a range of undergarments that are marked at a slightly lower price point than those in the Heidi Klum Intimates collection, and the HK Man collection offers a wide assortment of men's underwear in a variety of colors and styles. Offering such a substantial number of size and style options for both genders significantly increases the brand's potential customer base, which is a savvy move by Klum.

Furthermore, Klum has made wise choices as to where her line is available for purchase. The line sells on popular lingerie sites like Journelle, Figleaves and Bare Neccesities -- all known for offering modern lingerie in an expansive range of sizes. This means women that are already flocking to these sites for their lingerie fix can now discover Klum's delicate yet supportive designs organically through a channel in which they already shop. Additionally, the brand sells at several department stores including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Macy's. Opting to make the line available both at high-end and mid-market stores is a smart move as it allows Klum to reach more potential customers while simultaneously communicating the inclusive nature of the brand.

3. Tyra Beauty

Few models ever reach the level of fame that Tyra Banks enjoys. Banks has done an impressive job of staying relevant throughout her legendary career. Banks first launched Tyra Beauty in 2014, selling the collection of 14 products with kitschy names like "Pop It Clean" makeup remover wipes, but recently expanded direct-to-consumer efforts a la competing makeup brand Mary Kay. Those interested in selling Tyra Beauty -- becoming 'Beautytainers' as Banks calls it -- can purchase the Biz Kit Launch Bundle on Tyra.com to get started. Empowering her fans to take control of their careers by selling her products effectively turns Banks' existing champions into extensions of her brand.

Additionally, Banks is smart enough to know she can't grow this business alone. She's made some wise hiring decisions, tapping top talent from Stella & Dot, a successful direct marketer of jewelry. Specifically, Banks brought on Anita Krpata, to serve as general manager, as well as Evacheska DeAngelis Barton as senior director of field development. Bringing in leadership with experience in direct selling -- and to a similar demographic at that -- will help Tyra Beauty achieve sustainable growth.

Successfully launching a retail brand is a formidable task, but having years of industry experience and millions of existing fans gives these former catwalk queens an edge. These women know how to elevate brand awareness and convert fans into buyers, which is why investors should keep an eye on their ventures.

 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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