Fashion brand Bettina Liano is up for sale, following the appointment last week of administrators for the second time in recent years.
Administrators Richard Albarran, Brent Kijurina and David Ross from Hall Chadwick in Sydney are seeking “urgent expressions of interest” to purchase the business and/or its assets.
They have listed the label’s 24-year history, sale of goods via Myer department stores, strong brand recognition and consumer goodwill as key selling points. Stock and inventory, registered trademarks and the customer database are all part of the sale.
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The administrators for the eponymous brand said in a statement they are working with the director regarding a proposal for a formal restructure of the company via a Deed of Company Arrangement.
“The administrators will commence a marketing campaign for the sale of the company’s business as a going concern. The administrators are currently continuing to trade the business as a going concern to maximise the return to creditors,” the statement said.
The first creditors meeting will be held in Hall Chadwick’s Melbourne offices on Friday, October 4 at 11am.
The eponymous label first went into administration in 2011, but recovered following a deal with Sydney-based clothing manufacturing business Apparel Group to design, manufacture and wholesale the brand.
A spokesperson for Apparel Group told SmartCompany yesterday that they were not aware of the latest administration announcement, and that nothing had changed with the agreement with the brand.
Apparel Group was contacted for further comment today, but no reply was received prior to publication.
Through the deal, Liano was to maintain control of her business – both the Bettina Liano label and youth diffusion label T by Bettina Liano – and retain the role of creative director for both brands.
Bettina Liano launched its first store in 1990. Recently it has experienced a turbulent few years that saw the brand close all but one of its Australian retail stores in favour of opening a New York store.
The closures included its original Chapel Street, Melbourne, store, which had operated for 23 years.
Liano told SmartCompany in February this year that the decision to move overseas was linked to Australia’s expensive retail rents. The designer said she was paying $25,000 a month for rent in Melbourne’s Chapel Street.
“It’s sad, but I’m going to come back and by the end of the year I’m going to reopen stores,” Liano said in February 2013. “I just want to pay good rent; Melbourne is not worth what they are charging at the moment.
“At the moment in the States it is like repeating how I started in Melbourne, there were empty stores going cheap. In Australia, in the last 12 months, I have been on sale for the last 12 months; it is just so price sensitive.”
At the time Liano told SmartCompany she wanted Bettina Liano to become a global brand with international trends and styles at the core of the seasonal collections.
In addition to the New York store, she intended to open sites in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.
“I am just looking for volume in the market, I feel that I outgrew Melbourne in particular and I have been banging the drum for 23 years. I feel like I could do with a new audience and I’m confident that what I do is different enough from everyone else to be able to sell it [in the United States],” she said.
Liano said in January this year she had faced a “chronic delay with my suppliers”.
“I didn’t get delivery of a summer season until the first week of January so that just killed me – I don’t know how long you can sell a sweater for,” she said.
Liano told SmartCompany in early 2012 that the 2011 administration was a harrowing experience.
“I lost most of what I worked 25 years for, I lost millions of dollars in equity and I’m trying really hard. I’m not a crook.
“I was solely responsible and no one could help me except for me.
“It was harrowing and it was like walking a tightrope: it was like a 50-foot wave surf movie, when you fly down the face off a wave. I just flew down the face and I didn’t wipe out and now I am paddling back out.”
Bettina Liano is known for its denim wear, sharp tailoring and fashion forward looks for women.