(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Carole Hochman, one of the country’s most successful designers of women’s sleepwear, is poised, as the CEO and largest shareholder of a newly reconfigured public company, to take on all challengers — including Komar, Inc., the company that bought her old company, the Carole Hochman Design Group, in 2010. She had continued working at Komar until resigning less than a year ago.
Naked Brand Group, Inc., a small producer of men’s underwear, announced last month that it had hired Hochman, but an examination of documents filed recently with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that, in effect, it was Hochman who hired Naked.
The company’s founder and previous CEO, Joel Primus, remains as president, but now reports to her. And in a filing with the SEC on July 15, it was revealed that Carole Hochman now owns 9,467,167 shares of stock in the company, representing 20.7% of the shares outstanding and has the rights to acquire “approximately 9,409,333” additional shares, at a price of $0.075 (about half the current share price) upon meeting various conditions and restrictions. Her son David is now a company director and himself owns 2,715,980 shares, representing 6.9% of the shares outstanding.
Naked’s original four directors combined, including Primus, own about 26.5% of the shares outstanding.
In the June announcement of Hochman’s hiring, the company promised to “pursue an ambitious strategy to establish Naked as a global lifestyle brand offering innovative and luxurious inner, lounge, sleep and active wear to both men and women.”
But prior to Carole Hochman’s arrival as CEO, chairman and creative officer, Naked, which is listed on the OTC market, was exclusively a men’s underwear brand which posted sales for the year ended January 31, 2014 of just $639,107 with an outsize loss of $4,238,490. The year before, Naked lost $1,332,996 on sales of $566,508. The company has sold its men’s underwear in such stores as Nordstrom, Holt & Renfrew and Hudson Bay Company.
With Carole Hochman assuming the helm, and with the addition of two other industry veterans, Michael Flanagan as COO and CFO, and Carlos Serra as the VP of sales and merchandising, Naked was able to bring in a total of $7.3 million in new private placement financing, according to a company announcement in early July.
Flanagan’s 30 year career in the apparel industry began a Warnaco and included stints at Crystal Brands, where he served as internal audit manager, 13 years at Brooks Brothers, where he served as CFO and SVP of finance and logistics, and several years where he served as both COO and CFO, first for Nat Nast and then for Summit Golf Brands.
Serra has 18 year’s experience in the intimate apparel industry, after starting in the executive training program at Macy’s. Previously he was a vice president at both Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani and prior to that a divisional sales vice president at Hanesbrands, Inc.
Naked plans to begin shipping women’s collections for spring 2015 and is expected to eventually offer women’s sleepwear and loungewear as well as underwear. On the men’s side the company plans to expand to loungewear and sleepwear. Eventually the company might even add clothing and home furnishings.
In addition to designing under her own name, Hochman has produced collections under such labels as Oscar de la Renta, Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan, as well as private label collections for stores.
With the spring market just two weeks away in mid-July, Naked’s main web page, http://www.thenakedshop.com/, featured a male model in form fitting microfiber boxer brief that left little to the imagination. There were no women’s styles displayed and as no evidence there, at least, of Carole Hochman’s influence on the company.
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