Remember the Perez Hilton to Release Clothing Line news story? Well, it got me in contact with Matt Meyerson, who worked on the deal, which I figured would be an interesting short interview.
Matt was instrumental in making the deal happen, a deal that will put Perez Hilton labeled clothes in the Hot Topic stores come June 6.
Perez Hilton will be releasing a clothing line for the Hot Topics stores. What was your role in this?
This is the most interesting part of the story to me. I used to run the product placement division of a very large entertainment PR firm in Beverly Hills (up until two weeks ago when I left to do my own thing). This is a division I started and when I came to the company I had a lot of fashion contacts having worked in the fashion business. So… my first clients were all fashion brands and I quickly formed a niche in placing hot labels on celebs, in magazines, on tv shows, in films, music videos, on the web, etc.
Anchor Blue came to me to help them launch a pop up store in Santa Monica. The week I was hired, coincidentally Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt happened into my office to pick up some gear. In talking with them they told me they were looking for a clothing deal. Immediately, I thought of Anchor Blue. SO…that was the catalyst for a very quick yet mutually beneficial agreement to do the Heidiwood line.
Having known Perez through pitching him clients, sending him gear (everything from clothes to energy drink to sunglasses) and events I had done I figured he would love to break the story. Which he did for me. I also invited him to the launch event of the La La Land for Anchor Blue store where we were formerly announcing the launch of Heidiwood. Perez came and we got to talking. He asked me half jokingly “how come I don’t have a line?” I asked him “what do you want to do and what store do you want to do it with?” He said “I want to do a girl’s line with Hot Topic.” So I told him to call me the next day.
We went into an agreement and immediately I contacted the head of marketing for Hot Topic who put me in touch with the person in charge with merchandising. Immediately they expressed interest and negotiations began before the end of 2007.
The rest is confidential but that is the story…
How strong would you say that the Perez Hilton brand is in this matter? Why will the clothing line succeed?
I would say that Hot Topic is the perfect outlet for Perez. He resonates with their audience perfectly. He is irreverent, quirky and independent. Hot Topic has grown to about 700 stores selling this vibe to kids worldwide. I think the line will be a big success amongst the kids who shop at Hot Topic since the gear is fun, colorful and sells the same thing that causes millions of people to view Perez’s blog every day.
I think it is important to view this line more as a merchandise deal than a fashion deal though. Perez is not trying to be Lauren Conrad. Rather, this product is an extension of the media empire he has built on a variety of merchandise, some of which happens to be apparel.
This is an amazing partnership for both Hot Topic and Perez.
Do you think that more high profile bloggers could branch out like this?
I can’t say yes and I can’t say no however having done deals like this in the past I know they don’t come easy. I am currently working with 3 of the largest names in music right now and have had a very time procuring similar deals like this for them.
I am unsure if there is any other blogger (including myself) who has the clout and following that Perez does. Love him or hate him, he has an audience that is worldwide and loyal. Show me another blogger that has that consistency in the pop culture market and I will try and get him/her a deal.
Thanks for the answers, Matt! Be sure to catch his blog Plopculture.
To sum up a bit, I think Matt is right regarding the possibilities for other bloggers than Perez to branch out like this. Robert Scoble and Jason Calacanis might have big followings online, but would you buy a Scoble shirt at GAP? It’s not the same thing, you need the rabid followers.
Strong brands are strong brands, though. In the past, I’ve been successful in putting visual esthetics connecting to my own brands in Sweden, when I ran sites there, and got a decent amount of the hardcore followers to buy T-shirts, shoulderbags, and similar simple merchandise. However, that’s a far way from getting the stuff in stores, a more suitable comparison would be Cafepress.
What do you think? How can a blog, or a blogger for that matter, branch out with merchandise? And who else than Perez Hilton could do this in the blogosphere?
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.