Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NRF Foundation
Hollywood Fashion Secrets co-founder and president Jane Dailey at an event earlier this year in New
Hollywood Fashion Secrets co-founder and president Jane Dailey at an event earlier this year in New York.
Celebrities typically don’t tape and tell, but anytime a star appears on a red carpet in a plunging gown, many of us in the Twin Cities smile knowingly. Chances are, the double-sided tape preventing that fashion moment from being reduced to wardrobe malfunction is from Hollywood Fashion Secrets. And despite the “Hollywood” in its name, the brand’s roots are purely Minnesotan.
The many actresses who use it, and the many fashion editors who have gushed about it may not know or care that Hollywood Fashion Tape got its start in Marni Bumsted’s Golden Valley living room. But we do.
We’ve chronicled the company from its early days in 2002, when Bumsted and co-founder Jane Dailey filled online orders themselves. We’ve watched it grow to a staff of 20, including Dailey and CEO Matt Goldberg, headquartered in the North Loop. And every time we grab a pink tin of those tape strips at Target or CVS, we know we’re supporting a hometown team.
Sadly, no longer. In August, Hollywood Fashion Secrets was sold to American International Industries, the Los Angeles–based manufacturer and distributor of more than 40 beauty lines including China Glaze nail polish and Ardell false eyelashes. It’s ironic that, after a year in which both daily newspapers and several local business publications wrote about Hollywood Fashion Secrets’ double-digit sales growth and expansion into nearly 30,000 mass retailers, the company’s final days in Minneapolis received very little attention.
The entire staff is out of a job. No one from Hollywood Fashion Secrets went with the brand to its new headquarters in California.
“We wish the outcome for our employees was different—our team was absolutely amazing,” says Dailey, who served as president of HFS. “But the sale is the right thing for the business at this stage in our growth.”
Despite its red carpet success, a steady push into big-box stores, and the buzz that celebrity spokeswoman and fashion authority Stacy London brought to the brand, Dailey says awareness was surprisingly low: According to a recent company survey, only one in 33 women knew about HFS, or that its category of styling tools even existed.
“While we Minnesota fashionistas are intimately aware of Hollywood Fashion Secrets, the rest of the country is not,” Dailey says. “Creating a new category at retail takes a lot of marketing muscle. We’ve loved being self-funded for these past 14 years, but we also realized a new financing model was required to really put HFS and the category on the map and support exponential growth.”
It’s bittersweet news, from a local perspective, but it’s hard to fault the company for following the dollars and international opportunity. “We are grateful for all the local support, from boutiques to Target to local media,” says Dailey, who is still contemplating her next venture. She’s currently noodling a couple of new ideas related to what she describes as “female empowerment.”
Hollywood Fashion Secrets’ trajectory is also a good reminder that the next big idea could be forming in a living room near you. That’s what I’ll be thinking about as I walk the aisles at the ninth annual Maiden Minnesota on November 6 at Loews Minneapolis Hotel. It’s one of many great marketplaces of local talent you should consider shopping this holiday season (visit maidenminnesota.com for tickets). For most product makers, that initial boost of confidence—and sales—comes from the hometown fans, who, in our case, can look forward to a holiday season void of wardrobe malfunctions.