After 13 years spent embarrassingly in the red — with losses as deep as her pockets — Victoria Beckham‘s fashion business has finally turned a corner.
The business, which has borrowed £30 million from other parts of the Beckham empire over the years, is at last showing a profit.
In an interview with industry bible Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) to celebrate the news, her brand’s investor, David Belhassen, has shone a rare spotlight on the inner workings of Posh’s empire.
He says that revenues are up by a huge 42 per cent to £58 million — and predicts that when the business files accounts for the 2022 financial year this coming December, the former Spice Girl will make her many critics eat their words.
She’s certainly taken her time to get here: the most recent accounts, which cover the period up to December 2021, show a loss of £2.2 million.
So how has Posh — who is not a trained fashion designer — done it? Surprisingly, it’s not by selling clothes.
The key to her eventual triumph has lain in Victoria Beckham’s diversification into accessories — particularly her signature ‘watch chain’ pouch handbags — and in the runaway success of her make-up range.
Other big sellers include the Frame Buckle belt, costing £190, and the distinctive Shield sunglasses, from £300, modelled by Mrs Beckham at every opportunity.
It is these items — all keenly priced for the luxury market — and not her clothes that have helped her beat fashion’s bitchiest naysayers.
Sources at the company confirm that her new chain strap pouch handbag, priced from £650, has become a sought-after ‘hero’ item. It sold out after debuting in her Spring/Summer ’23 show in Paris last September, and now, such is the demand, there is a waiting list.
Recognising the hit on her hands, Victoria has had it made in a further three sizes. The jumbo size, priced at £1,290, is already sold out in a few colourways, having only just gone live on her website.
What’s more, after launching into the competitive world of beauty, Posh has won critics over with her smudgy Satin Kajal eyeliner, which at £26 has been selling strongly in most colours and is on its way to attaining cult status.
It’s quite a turnaround from a few years ago, when the very existence of the Victoria Beckham brand was in doubt.
Accounts for 2021 show losses of £2.2 million, at which point auditors said the company was facing ‘material uncertainty’ requiring ‘shareholder support’.
But now, following what sources at the company call an ‘entire reshuffle’, and as a result of Victoria’s undoubted tenacity, the brand is on the up.
NEO investment partners pumped £30 million into Victoria Beckham back in 2017 and its boss, David Belhassen, now says he expects the business will achieve ‘more than’ £100 million in revenue over ‘the next couple of years’, with half that coming from the beauty and skincare business which was launched in September 2019.
All of which prompted Belhassen to declare: ‘Victoria has been unbelievable — on fire — and taking on every single challenge.’
It’s a work ethic that was in evidence from the earliest days of The Spice Girls, when all five girls were put on a pop industry treadmill and expected to keep to an exhausting touring and PR schedule.
Even then, it was clear that Victoria Adams (as she was then), who had set her heart on a musical career after watching the film Fame in 1980, was more determined than most.
Planet fashion was much harder to crack, however. Few in that cliquey world thought she could succeed and at first Victoria herself was modest. ‘I was never going to be the world’s best singer, but I hope I can be a good designer,’ she said.
In 2006, she started to dabble in fashion, lending her name to a range of jeans by Rock And Republic, and bringing out a budget fragrance. There was also an association with the ultra-flashy designer Roberto Cavalli, which made the fashion elite snigger into their sleeves.
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