Milano’s Touch

Alyssa Milano was so appalled by the women’s apparel at Dodger Stadium that she changed it, reports Joel Stein in Bloomberg Businessweek (12/5/13). Everything was pink, and none of it was cut for women. That was eight years ago. Since then, Alyssa, of TV’s Who’s The Boss? and Charmed, has introduced Touch by Alyssa Milano — her own line of "less boxy, team-color-appropriate clothing." "My idea was to make Touch fashionable enough for women to wear outside the arena," says Alyssa, whose line "now includes $85 quilted jackets … $45 jeans … and $30 pendant necklaces."

Alyssa was able to strike a deal with G-III apparel group to make the garments in relatively short order, but getting into the stadiums wasn’t so easy. So, "she started selling Touch merchandise through MLB.com and her own website in time for 2008 Spring training. The collection sold out in five weeks." Alyssa has since "added deals with the NFL, NHL, NBA and some colleges, and has since added Nascar, MLS and minor-league baseball. Touch is now the only apparel company with licensing agreements with all the major American sports."

Others – "including Nike and Reebok" have since followed Alyssa’s lead. Women represent a big fan base: "Some 46 percent of self-identified MLB fans today are women, and 44 percent of NFL TV viewers are women, up from 34 percent in 2011." Even more important: "As in regular stores, women do far more buying at stadiums than men, and so the leagues realized they were leaving a lot of money on the table." According to Marshall Cohen of NPD Group, women’s sports apparel now account for 17 percent of the total, up from about zero before Alyssa showed up.

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