Marcus Lemonis Vs Blue Jeans Bar
The Owner(s): Lady Catherine Reiss-Fuller
In this episode of The Profit, Marcus Lemonis visits Blue Jeans Bar. Blue Jeans Bar is a high-end clothing and accessories retailer owned by Lady Catherine Reiss-Fuller. Lady was born and raised in New Orleans. She fulfilled her passion for the fashion industry in 2004 and opened a network of boutiques she called “The Blue Jeans Bar.” She combined her inspiration from her parents’ legacies and her MBA in fashion to build a business with a soul. Lady’s mom was a model and her dad was a business.
With some issues like lack of inventory and fast expansion, the Blue Jeans Bar struggled to stay in the business and managed the high debts. Marcus Lemonis was asked to help the company regain its composure and deal with the business issues. Marcus went to San Francisco, California to one of the Blue Jeans Bar stores with hopes of making a good deal with Lady.
He likes the concept of a denim retail with a bar setting but believes it can be better. At one point, the company had expanded to 13 stores, but when Marcus help was asked, there were only three (3) stores remaining.
Problems/Issues In The Business Found By Marcus
- Poor management and no solid leadership.
- Too aggressive business expansion.
- Stagnant stocks.
- Lady Fuller and her people are inexperienced when it comes to the retail business.
- The stores have limited sizes available.
- The profit margin is horrible.
- The business does not have enough inventories.
- The merchandise is all over the place.
Because of the lack of proper management, the Blue Jeans Bar was on the verge of extrication and the business was in dire need of Marcus’ help. Marcus initially offered Lady $800,000 for 50% ownership. The money will be paid to the vendors and some amount will be spent as working capital. Lady countered by asking for $1,000,000 for 40% ownership.
Marcus said he recognizes the fashion ideas and artistic skills that Lady has and finally offered her $900,000 for 50% of the business with Marcus fully in control of the spendings. Lady and Marcus settled with that amount and arrangement.
Solutions Suggested/Implemented by Marcus To Improve The Business
- Bring the inventory in.
- Take care of the vendors and supplies.
- Make a significant change in the store’s appearance.
- Pick and sell new products.
- Flatten the management/organizational chart.
- Introducing a new inventory system.
- Clearing out the basement and made great sales.
- Decreasing the focus on denim and increasing more space for other products.
During The Show…
After Marcus announced the deal to the employees, so many things happened. Because he lived in Chicago, he decided to visit the Blue Jeans Bar in Chicago. He was disappointed to discover the lack of leadership and inventory. He called the attention of Lady, Tasha, and Amy. He described the store as underloved, dirty, unsupervised and underresourced.
Marcus initiated to identify the demographics of the customers, clear the racks and basement. They made a big sale and bring some of the stocks to the other store. The Chicago store was closed and re-modelled and become the model-store. It was hard for Lady to let go of the “bar” concept and hesitated to have the bar removed. Marcus insisted to get rid of it to make more floor space.
Marcus brought Lady and Amy to Aviator Nation to look for new products to introduce and sell. They picked new products that will suit the 25 to 40 demographics. When Marcus unveiled the new Chicago store as “Denim & Soul,” Lady was blown away. The customers are happy to find their sizes and style. It was a timely and fantastic change.
Conclusion and Updates on the Business
In the fall of 2015, the Blue Jeans Bar was transformed into Denim & Soul which features a diverse mix of pieces. Marcus Lemonis did all he can to help Lady and her people resolve all the issues like ineffective management styles, huge debts, aggressive expansion and more. Lady, Marcus, and together with the COURAGE b owners Stephanie Menkin and Nicolas Goureau, transformed the old Blue Jeans Bar to a more sophisticated boutique that features various products for the modern day-to-day living.
Lady was so thankful and grateful for Marcus’ help. At present, the Denim & Soul have 6 locations; Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Lake Forest, Dallas, and Jacksonville.
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