Orange 21 Revises Its Mary J. Blige Licensing Deal; It Will Terminate Early

On July 18, Orange 21 (Spy Optic)  amended its licensing agreement with Rose Colored Glasses (Mary J. Blige’s company). The amendment provides “…for an earlier expiration of the Company’s license to sell Mary J. Blige (“MJB”) branded sunglasses (the “License”) on March 31, 2012.” For this, they paid Rose Colored Glasses $1,000,000 at signing and issued a non-interest bearing promissory note for $500,000 that’s due March 31, 2012. The filing only provides about half a page of real information. You can read it here.

My take on Orange 21, as you know if you’ve been reading what I’ve written about them, is that the tough economy and some management issues left them without the sales volume and margins they needed to support their required advertising and promotional programs. To try and address this issue, they took what I thought was the reasonable step of making licensing agreements with O’Neil, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand, and Mary J. Blige to produce and market sunglasses under their names.

As of their last filing, we hadn’t been told that these programs were generating any meaningful sales, but there had been a lot of expense incurred for design, promotion, inventory and required contractual payments. It appears from the amendment that the licensing deal with Ms. Blige isn’t working out quite the way Orange 21 hoped it would. We don’t have any sales numbers from any of the licensing agreements.
Mr. Seth Hamot, Orange 21’s principal shareholder and Chairman, through his company Costa Brava, has previously invested $7 million in Orange 21. If the licensing agreements don’t produce the hoped for revenue increases, and the fundamental strategic issue of the brand not generating enough sales to pay for a competitive marketing program can’t be resolved, he may be called on to put in some more.
We should see the quarterly financials shortly.  That will give us a better feel for what might be next.                



4 replies
  1. michael
    michael says:

    I sense these deals looked good on paper…but the truth is that these celebrities are quite a bit of a departure from the action sports world.

    It’s a WHOLE different world, in fact…a world that gobbles up MILLIONS of dollars at a time.
    Action sports is getting there, but it’s still much less expensive.

    This is taken from their website…perhaps they have lost a little bit of focus..just saying…

    Spy Optic offers the best eyewear options for fashion forward designs, sport, polarized and prescription sunglasses. We were born in Southern California. Founded in the mid nineties by people who are passionate about the sports they love and the products they use. We ride and surf and skate every chance we get. Spy is known as the premier specialty brand. We are known for our high quality designer sunglasses, 100 percent designed by us in California and manufactured and assembled by hand in our own factory in Varese, Italy. And lastly, our designer sunglass styles are really cool. We donï¾’t have to explain that do we… Spy sunglassesï¾’ superior fit, look and feel set us apart and above the competitors.

    • jeff
      jeff says:

      Hi Michael,
      Really good point. They are hoisted by their own petard, to use the old expression. I have to confess I thought the licensing agreements were a good idea (if only because I knew they had to do something and I didn’t have a better idea) but given their own definition of who they are,it was quite a leap.

      Thanks. Any chance you’ll be at Agenda?


    • jeff
      jeff says:

      Hi Mark,
      Come on- you usually have such great comments. Don’t just ooze sarcasm. Tell us why you think we’re nuts if that what you think. I’m all about the quality of the conversation even if you think I’m nuts.

Comments are closed.