Elizabeth Taylor is more associated with Diamonds and Jewelry than any other woman in the world. She is, of course, the Queen of Diamonds! So how in the hell did two jewelry guys from LA become partners with Dame Elizabeth? Millions of people have heard about the story…the meteoric rise and crashing fall of House of Taylor Jewelry. But what really happened? How did it begin?
Bling Beverly Hills caught up with the former Chairman, President and CEO of House of Taylor Jewelry, Jack Abramov, and asked some very personal questions about his experience with La Liz and how he got to be intimate business partners with the most famous woman in the world!
“When it was over, I knew for sure that my life would have been better if we never met…but the experience was unforgettable.” Jack Abramov
Jack, you grew up in the jewelry business. Tell us about it.
Some relatives introduced my Dad to the jewelry business. My parents started a gold jewelry company called R & R Trading in Scottsdale, Arizona. It stood for Raphael and Rachel. That was 1980 and gold had risen from $ 161.00 an ounce in 1977 to over $ 594.00! My Father hit the road selling gold chains and jewelry to retail stores and my Mom took care of the books and office, which they ran out of the house.
I was in High School at the time and over the next couple of years I saw big changes happening. I would travel the road with my Dad to keep him company whenever I could. Business was booming and within three years we had outgrown Arizona and moved the business and family to California. During the next two years things really took off….he bought a house in Beverly Hills and a Benz in the driveway, paying cash for both, no financing. My Dad taught me that if you hustled, this was a great business!
In 1989 I graduated from college at CSUN and went right to GIA in Santa Monica to get my Gemology Degree. I fell in love with my college sweetheart Dorit and in 1990 we got married. I hit the road during the week selling tennis bracelets, studs and diamond rings to retail stores throughout the Southwest, always returning home on the weekends. In 1993, my brother Monty graduated from college, entered the family business, and together we formed a new company, RJM Jewelry Manufactures & Importers, named for a Father and his two sons, Raphael, Jack and Monty. During the next few years, we worked very long hard hours…flying all over the world buying diamonds and gems, casting models, picking stones, manufacturing diamond jewelry in LA and traveling all 50 states opening accounts, hiring salesmen, Howard Kahn in New Orleans, Nissan Svid in Miami, Tim Wright in Indiana and Bill Stanton in DC. These guys were tigers and together, we built the business by 1998 to over $ 5M in annual revenue, and very profitable.
In 2000 you formed a new Company called Techline Jewelry. What was that all about?
Yes in April 2000, we created Techline Jewelry Corp at 550 S Hill Street in downtown LA. I was obsessed with computers and we wanted to be the first to feature and market CAD design jewelry utilizing the latest technology in computer design and manufacturing. We manufactured the jewelry in Hong Kong and China with Swiss quality finishing and setting.
In July 2001 we debuted at the JA NY show, and Techline was featured in a cover story and article in Rapaport Jewelry Magazine for advancements in jewelry design and manufacturing. We received a lot of attention.
CAD /CAM Creating Beauty Though Technology –TECHLINE JEWELRY
Jul 27, 2001 12:05 PM By Nancy Pier Sindt Rapaport Magazine Cover Story
Using the latest technology to create fine jewelry is hardly a new concept. One can argue that the ancient Egyptians’ use of blowpipes to raise the temperature of fire to melt and fuse gold was one of the earliest examples.
“A designer can input the exact dimensions for a piece,” explains Jack Abramov of Tech Line, Los Angeles. “This is good not only for the designer, but for the setter, the manufacturer and the retailer, as it eliminates human error when designing and producing a piece of jewelry. Consistency is the key.”
Stage 1 design Techline Jewelry Corp.Tech Line, a new division of RJM Diamond and Jewelry Inc., Los Angeles, offers about 500 different computer-produced jewelry designs. Says Abramov, “Computer-aided design allows all designs to be symmetrical. For channel-set designs, the channels are perfectly aligned; in prong-set jewelry, all prongs are exactly the same size, scale and distance from each other. For jewelry with pavé or small stones, a designer can plan the exact calibration of the stone layout.
Tech Line’s Abramov says, “This technology allows a shopper to look at a design from four or five different angles, using different colored stones or metals.” For the future, he predicts CAD/CAM designs with “more intricate design work and cleaner lines.”
By 2002, Techline had expanded from 4 salespeople to 12, adding George D’Asenso in Philadelphia, the Buckley brothers Gary and Jeff for the East Coast, Tom McNutt in California and others covering regional territories in the USA and Caribbean; We tripled our space and moved to 6th and Grand on the 18th floor with amazing views. Techline had a fantastic support team in the office with Annie helping Rachel with the books, and our co-pilots Reagan John Rada and Phoenix Brown keeping everything organized and running smoothly. Annual sales exceeded $ 8M.
How did you get from designing jewelry with computers in Techline to working with Celine Dion?
One of our best customers was Caesars Park Place Entertainment, with over 20 Casino properties in the US at the time…and they were doing very well with our Techline Jewelry in their shops. They called us after CAESARS PALACE signed Celine Dion to a 3 year $ 100 Million contract. They were looking for a company to design unique jewelry for the stores. We prepared a great proposal with sexy designs and choices in gold with diamonds and silver with cz’s, hitting 2 price tiers. Monty and I flew to Vegas and Celine herself studied our proposal and loved it! We received personal invitations to the pre-opening shows and met with Celine and Oprah Winfrey backstage! It was an incredible experience and we sold thousands of jeweled silhouettes of Celine.
Celine Dion Jewelry by Techline – A New Day – Caesars Palace Las Vegas 2003
by JCK MAGAZINE Techline Jewelry Corporation, a Los Angeles jewelry manufacturer, has been chosen to design a gold and diamond jewelry line to be marketed for International Superstar Celine Dion’s upcoming concert engagement, “A New Day” which debuts on March 25th at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
This endeavor brings together Techline’s design team with the Gaming giant Park Place Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming company operating under the Bally’s, Caesars, Paris, Flamingo, Grand, and Hilton brand names. Techline will create a jewelry line designed around Celine Dion’s famous ‘Silhouette,’ used for promoting the concert.
Raphael Abramov, President of Techline Jewelry Corporation, along with his two sons Jack and Monty, are the creators of several successful jewelry concepts, including high fashion Black & White diamond jewelry, the estate reproduction Victorian Collection and Mirabelle, and “The Original Diamond Handbag Collection.”
You and Monty went on your own in 2002 to create Mirabelle Luxury Concepts in West Hollywood. What was the inspiration behind that?
We created another company, Mirabelle Luxury Concepts, to control our intellectual property and to focus on Monty’s idea of creating exclusive handbag pendants with 18k gold, diamonds and French enamel, trademarked as “The Original Diamond Handbag Collection”. I was leading the business side and Monty was in charge of design. We decided to launch the collection as a sideline at the JCK Las Vegas Show in June 2002, samples only. Our JCK marketing rep Robin Lutin convinced us to buy full page ads in JCK Magazine to promote it, and she was right on the money. Mirabelle was a surprise hit, selling out our entire year’s production in 5 days, over $ 2M in orders.
The enamel bags were very detailed and difficult to produce. Castings were sent to France for enamel work then back to Hong Kong for diamond setting and assembly. We continued with fully jeweled diamond and color store handbags and Monty’s designs were incredible.
We were dying to move out of downtown LA so we looked for the right spot to expand on our own brand, Mirabelle 18k. In 2003 we found a great spot at 9200 Sunset in West Hollywood, at the famed Luckman Plaza Building.
We secured 5,000 sf of exclusive high-end office space with our own in-house marketing team, accounting and distribution center, equipped with a walk in jewelry vault with 4 additional safes and professional security. We upgraded our suite with granite and wood floors, flat panels tvs, Italian furniture and glass doors. Building tenants included Dick Clark Productions, JJ Abrams, Ford Modeling Agency and Sotheby’s Auction House. We were on top of the world! I parked next to Dick Clark and Pat Boone. Funny story, one day my pet Maltese Benji bit JJ Abrams’ pant in the elevator…and I had to pay $ 500 to replace them! It was a glorious time.
At the end, the jewelry was truly magnificent and buyers were blown away. Other unique Mirabelle 18k concepts followed.
The move to West Hollywood gave us the inspiration to create many hits that followed including Flower Power, Player’s Club Gaming Line, Hollywood Diamond Collection and Jeweled color stone handbags. These projects spun off Mirabelle 18k’s success so retailers had continuous and exciting new items always. Everyone in the industry knew about us.
Elton John is one of the most iconic talents ever! How did that jewelry project evolve? How did you guys handle the excitement back then?
We were feeding off the excitement from so many angles. We had opened up the Caribbean in 120 stores with our Mirabelle 18K handbags and they were selling out everywhere. The Celine project was also giving us great success so our Caesars contact gave us a call and she told us about Elton John and “The Red Piano” opportunity for us to design all of the jewelry for the stores…and some one-of-a-kind pieces for Sir Elton. This was one of the highlights of our journey together as a family. We grew up listening and loving Elton and had to pinch ourselves every time we thought about it.
“When we recieved the green light for the project, the entire company was thrilled and excited to be given this opportunity of a lifetime,” says Jack Abramov, vice president of Mirabelle. “Elton John is one of the most brilliant entertainers of all time and we wanted to design something spectacular….The show is going to be called ‘The Red Piano’ so Mirabelle created pendants, pins, and bracelets with amazingly detailed piano designs that personify the gifted artist.” In addition, Mirabelle is creating Elton John men’s jewelry, with piano cuff links and bracelets in several styles and colors.
This is the second major project between Techline and gaming giant Park Place Entertainment, which operates the Bally’s, Caesars, Paris, Flamingo, Grand, and Hilton brand names. The Mirabelle division of Techline created and designed a gold and diamond jewelry line for superstar singer Celine Dion’s concert engagement, “A New Day,” which debuted in March 2003 at Caesars Palace. Those designs focused on Celine Dion’s famous ‘Silhouette’ image, used for promoting the concert.
Monty Abramov, designer of Mirabelle, says the firm was chosen following its success with the Celine Dion line. “The greatest compliment a company can receive is to be given the responsibility for new and important projects like this one.”
One crazy story is when we created two identical handmade solid gold, diamond and ruby encrusted mini pianos, one to show Elton and one to keep as a memento for the family. Elton loved it and Caesars bought it for him as a gift. The one we kept, along with another black diamond piano, were stolen a couple of years later, by an employee of House of Taylor Jewelry. I have a good idea who stole it, I’m sure they will turn up someday at an auction or Pawn Shop and we will catch the crook!
CUSTOM SOLID 18K GOLD DIAMOND AND RUBY PIANO FOR ELTON JOHN EXCLUSIVELY BY MIRABELLE 18K.
Jack now tell me about Elizabeth Taylor. What was the story? How did your two worlds collide?
Mirabelle introduced the diamond handbag pendants in Summer 2002 and the line was picked up and featured at Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom, Gearys Beverly Hills and some 300 of the finest retail jewelers in the USA.
By mid 2003 Mirabelle 18k was being featured in Vogue, Town & Country, Harpers Bazaar, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, NY Times and others. Celebrities clients included Sharon Stone, Natasha Henstridge, Melissa Etheridge, Rina Sofer, Pamela Anderson, Joy Behar, Sheryl Schwartz & Julia Roberts.
In December of 2003, Elizabeth Taylor’s stylist Tim Mendelson picks out some Mirabelle purse pendants for Liz from Gearys Beverly Hills. She loves them and begins collecting.
2004 FEBRUARY Liz Taylor’s managers send this good looking Moroccan guy, a representative of Sterling Winters named Claude Ergas, to visit our office on Sunset. He comes in dressed to kill and brings us a signed copy of “My Love Affair with Jewelry” by Elizabeth Taylor as a gift…that gets everyone’s attention. Claude says Elizabeth, he called her ET, loves Mirabelle jewelry and wants to discuss a possible collaboration.
Claude invites us to meet ET managers Jason Winters and Erik Sterling from Sterling Winters Company in their Westwood office. The managers say ET loves our work and wants us come up with a concept for Elizabeth Taylor and Mirabelle. Sterling and Winters invite Monty and I to their home in Palm Springs over the weekend to discuss details.
I understand that was right when Raphael your Father and mentor became ill and died suddenly. How did you handle that?
Dad fell sick at age 64 with Melanoma and in April 2004, he died suddenly. It was a huge shock and devastating loss for our family and jewelry community. The Funeral was enormous with hundreds of people attending. Liz Taylor’s managers attend and offered very deep condolences. JCK Magazine printed an obituary.
2004 by JCK MAGAZINE
Raphael Abramov of Beverly Hills, Calif., founder of RJM Jewelry, Techline Jewelry Corporation, and Mirabelle 18k, died April 10, 2004. He is survived by his wife, Rachel, and two sons, Jack and Monty Abramov.
Abramov started his jewelry career as a gold importer and wholesaler before joining with his sons in 1988 to form RJM Jewelry, a manufacturer of high-end 18k and platinum diamond jewelry. In 2000 they formed Techline Jewelry Corporation.
How did things progress with the ET project that summer of 2004?
From June thru October 2004, talks continued with Sterling Winters Company. Monty and I were impressed with their dynamic marketing team and the milestones they achieved with Kathy Ireland and licensing. This had opened up the opportunity to manage ET. Jason Winters was in charge of everything, and we knew that if he gave the ok and his team was on board, then it was going to be a success.
I even reached out to my contact at De Beers to discuss this seriously important project.
Jason and I decided that Mirabelle Luxury Concepts will set up a Jewelry Firm together with Elizabeth Taylor. Mont and I hired famed Century City attorney Arthur H Barens to help us negotiate a deal for a license agreement with Ms. Taylor, but unfortunately things don’t go so well. Negotiations are heated with many angry disagreements between Barens and Winters. During one conversation, Barens yells at Winters and hangs up on him. Jason called me immediately, saying that Elizabeth will move forward with one condition…we must fire Barens! I wanted the deal so badly that I fired Barens and hired SEC attorney Aaron Grunfeld, recommended by Winters. In the past, the finest jewelry houses in the world had approached Elizabeth for the opportunity to work with her…Cartier, Bvlgari, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels and others, the management always said no. Now there was a shift in the management, to Sterling Winters, and for the first time ever, her entity Interplant, granted an exclusive Elizabeth Taylor Jewelry license. Grunfeld was brilliant, quarterbacking a dozen lawyers including Liz’s long time personal attorneys Tom Hoberman and Barbara Berkowitz. Miraculously, we got everyone to agree and in February 2005, formed the new company, House of Taylor Jewelry.
The New York Post was the first to debut the story!
La Liz is going from movie star to jewelry star.
Elizabeth Taylor will hawk a new line of jewelry that includes pieces beginning in the $3,000 range and one-of-a-kind couture creations worth from $250,000 to more than $1 million, it was announced yesterday.
The Oscar-winning actress has partnered with Jack and Monty Abramov of Mirabelle Luxury Concepts of Los Angeles to create the line, to be called House of Taylor Jewelry.
“I knew that I wanted to share my passion for jewelry with others so that they could truly enjoy the thrills and pure happiness that jewelry has brought to my life,” Taylor said in a statement.
Taylor, long known for her love of precious stones, has worn such stunners as a 33.19-carat Krupp diamond and a 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond, both gifts from hubby Richard Burton.
She also acquired the famed La Peregrina Pearl, a Spanish and English royal heirloom.
Taylor, 72, said she will develop signature collections for the firm and consult on its other jewelry projects.
Monty Abramov, who’ll be the House of Taylor’s design director, said, “Her extraordinary personal style has always been a guiding force in the world of all things beautiful – especially jewelry.”
2005 FEBRUARY – RAPAPORT NEWS
‘House of Taylor Jewelry’ to Debut in June
Feb 16, 2005 7:10 AM By Ketan Tanna
(Rapaport…February 16, 2005) Film icon Elizabeth Taylor has teamed-up with Jack and Monty Abramov of Mirabelle Luxury Concepts in Los Angeles, California, for a new entity, House of Taylor Jewelry.
Taylor’s off-film partnerships are synonymous with beauty, humanity, talent, and exquisite jewelry. The House of Taylor will premiere to the trade at JCK Las Vegas in June 2005. The Elizabeth Taylor collections will include a traditional fine jewelry assortment as well as one of a kind couture pieces with price points of more than $1 million dollars. The Abramov brothers will acquire additional licenses to support the House of Taylor Jewelry endeavor.
The licensing agreement is finally completed and signed by me, now awaiting Elizabeth Taylor’s signature. A full four months pass before Elizabeth signs and we fully execute the deal…what a Diva! The exclusive deal with Elizabeth had one special clause…Winters made sure that the license was tied to me personally. If I was replaced as CEO, the license would expire…like Cinderella at midnight.
How did you raise the $Millions needed to start this project?
2005 MAY – Sterling Winters convinces Former US Ambassador to Bill Clinton and finance guru Sim Farar to come on board to assist the company to go public and raise $$. The Company completes audits and prepares to complete a reverse merger with a public shell that Sim Farar had ready to go. But that shell company is dirty…after a criminal check we find out there was a convicted murderer as a previous officer! Sim finds a new shell and confirms that its clean. He brings on stock promoter Martin Sumichrast, who previously worked with notorious “Wolf of Wall Street” Jordan Belfort. Months afterwards, we find out there were lots of unregistered shares selling under our noses from multiple sources…we had no clue who or where they were coming from.
House of Taylor Jewelry hires Laidlaw & Co. with Harvey Kohn and Cary Sucoff, and completes a private placement of $ 6.47M investment in the company with the sale of stock priced at $ 4.25 per share. Company debuts on the Bulletin board as an over the counter stock. Sterling Winters, Sim Farar, Martin Sumichrast, Ralph Olson and I travel to NYC for a dog and pony show to pump up investors. This hilarious entourage drives around Manhattan in big black van with tinted windows and Jason holding Liz Taylor’s oscar. We all stay at The Mandarin Oriental in suites, wining and dining investors with $ 4,000 wine tastings with Les Moonves and Julie Chen, and a $ 6,000 dinner at Peter Lugers.
We hired a professional team to prepare a business plan with projections. I am appointed Chairman of the Board, President & Chief executive officer, Monty is Vice President & Design Director, and Sim brings in his friend Jack Brehm as CFO. Monty and I negotiated 3 year employment agreements for $250k each per year plus $150k bonus, a generous expense account with travel, $ 1500 a month car allowance, life insurance and 10 million shares of stock in the company. We also negotiated a $ 100k salary and $ 1000 per month car allowance for our mom Rachel. To reciprocate, the company buys Ms. Taylor a brand new pearl white Cadillac SUV with a big lavender bow around it as a signing gift! I personally go to her house to make sure it arrives ok and placed right. Elizabeth Taylor gets 12M shares of stock in the company.
We hire some gorgeous sales ambassadors, led by Ryan Yeager, Marcos Sedghi and Ilona Chkliarouk. Peter Sedghi came on board for operations, at Winters’ request, to be his eyes and ears. We also brought aboard Chris Reed to be my Chief of Staff. I painted the office ET’s favorite lavender color and we hung classic pics of her throughout.
The perks of being one of Liz Taylor’s men…one night Sim Farar and his wife Debbie generously invited Dorit and I to their home in Hidden Hills for Ted Kennedy’s birthday party. It was full of important people in government and Hollywood. John Kerry arrived with the Secret Service, lots of celebs attended…Clint Eastwood was there and we sat next to Meg Ryan. Wow what an unforgettable evening!
Sim took an office right next door to HOTJ and we worked together closely preparing for the reverse merger. I learned quickly that Sim was the kind of guy you really want to know. That same week he did a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at his home and invited Dorit and I to crash as his guests, luckily saving me the $ 20,000 a plate donation. There were about 200 people there and in a private room, Sim personally introduced us to Bill and Hillary Clinton, they loved Sim and were having a great time together…It was like a scene out of a Scorsese movie.
When the merger is completed, our company Techline Jewelry at $0.15 a share, merged with a public shell, and all of a sudden the pink sheet shares go public, on the bulletin board, at $ 3.50 a share. We raise $6.5 Million in cash at the close and paid almost $ 600k out of that to Grunfeld for legal fees…our burn rate right out the gate was over $ 200k per month. Being public was expensive, but we had a plan to use some of those funds to buy inventory and acquire new licenses, our first being from Kathy Ireland.
House of Taylor Jewelry Completes Equity Private Placement of $6.47 Million;
Company To Use Capital To Expand Sales, Marketing And Promote Brands
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 17, 2005— House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. (OTCBB: HJWL) today announced the closing of a private placement of its securities effective August 12, 2005. HJWL completed a private sale of 1,523,980 Units for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $6,476,915 (the “Placement”).
“We plan to utilize net proceeds primarily for marketing and brand-building,” explained Jack Abramov, chief executive officer of the Company. “These funds,” he added, ”allow us to expand design, manufacturing and distribution of multiple product categories across major price points for our Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland brands. We debuted House of Taylor Jewelry to the trades during the recent JCK Las Vegas show in June and the JA New York show in July. The team was very pleased to experience overwhelming positive responses from domestic and foreign retailers as well as major jewelry manufacturers and diamond companies wanting to participate and collaborate with us. We expect that these Placement proceeds will enable us to continue expanding domestic and worldwide distribution of our branded jewelry lines.”
About House of Taylor Jewelry
House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc, is a Los Angeles based international jewelry company founded by principal shareholders that are beneficially owned by Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Kathy Ireland and members of the Abramov families. The Company designs, markets and sells branded jewelry lines under licenses granted by entities beneficially owned by Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland Worldwide.
The June Las Vegas Jewelry shows were coming up…and we were getting ready for blast off. I called Dave Bonaparte and Frank Dallahan at JCK and told them about Elizabeth and Kathy, then put them in touch with Sterling Winters. After one meeting, there were plans for full page spreads of Elizabeth and Kathy in the magazine and Bonaparte gave us a super premium location at the JCK show, the COVER of the June 2005 JCK Magazine during the show AND this unbelievable announcement, that Kathy Ireland will be the Keynote Speaker to the JCK show with 35,000 jewelers in attendance! When She arrived for the keynote, it was a mob scene to get in, packed standing room only. Jewelers that knew us were stunned, Monty and I with all of our employees and salespeople…we all felt like superstars.
Kathy Ireland, chief designer and CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, will be the featured keynote speaker at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2005. Ireland’s keynote address, titled The Power of Branding: Building Success Through Key Strategies, will take place June 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
“We are honored that Kathy Ireland agreed to provide this year’s featured keynote,” says Dave Bonaparte, vice president of The JCK Shows. “Kathy is an amazing leader both in the world of fashion and big business. Her ability to seamlessly transition into the boardroom is nothing short of miraculous.
“We realize that her success in differentiating her brand and building one of the strongest brand presences in the competitive world of fashion is directly applicable to our retail attendees,” he adds. “The growth and survival of an industry depends on thinking outside of the box and finding alternative avenues and opportunities to extend one’s brand presence. Kathy has proven time and time again that she has the power to make that happen.”
“I am thrilled to be part of The JCK Show in Las Vegas,” says Ireland. “It’s truly a wonderful event that encourages us to connect, communicate, inform, and inspire one another. I look forward to sharing and learning with leaders who are passionate about life, family, and business.”
Explain how Kathy Ireland got involved. What was that all about?
Since Sterling Winters also manages Kathy Ireland, we developed a big idea and strategic plan together, to build a $Billion Dollar Jewelry Company around Elizabeth and Kathy. We enter into a license agreement with Kathy Ireland Worldwide to create fine jewelry line to range from $ 200 up to $ 2500. ET jewelry will range from $ 3000 up; Elizabeth Couture pieces will have price point of $ 100k to over $ 1M. Kathy will serve as Ambassador for House of Taylor Jewelry, all under direction of Dame Elizabeth, and Kathy Ireland gets 8M shares of stock.
We knew that by having both women under one umbrella, we would capture the entire industry, consumers, retailers…everyone. Winters is a marketing genius and he dictates a flurry of press releases that will go down in the history books!
House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. Established Through Merger with Nurescell Inc.; Principal Shareholder Dame Elizabeth Taylor to Develop Fine Jewelry Brands for New Organization with the Abramov Family
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 23, 2005–House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. (OTCBB:HJWL), a Los Angeles-based international jewelry company founded by principal shareholders Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Jack and Monty Abramov, of Mirabelle Luxury Concepts, best known for its “Mirabelle 18K” boutique consumer brand and its Techline Jewelry collections, have completed a merger transaction with Nurescell, Inc., a publicly traded holding company, which has adopted the House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. name for its newly merged corporation.
In connection with the merger agreement, through its subsidiary Global Jewelry Concepts, Inc., Nurescell has exchanged 30,000,000 shares of its common stock for 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of House of Taylor Jewelry. Following the merger, House of Taylor will have approximately 33,750,000 outstanding shares of common stock and under certain circumstances may issue an additional 2,000,000 shares of common stock to an entity controlled by Dame Elizabeth Taylor based on performance criteria.
The Company’s board of directors has appointed Jack Abramov as President and Chief Executive Officer, Jack Brehm as Chief Financial Officer, and Monty Abramov as Vice President and Design Director. Jack and Monty Abramov were principals of Mirabelle Luxury Concepts and Techline Jewelry Corporation, the Los Angeles-based jewelry business operated by their family for two generations. Jack Brehm is a former audit partner of Ernst & Young, LLP. The company intends promptly to expand its three-member Board of Directors and form independent audit and compensation committees.
House of Taylor Jewelry has also entered into a license agreement with an entity controlled by Kathy Ireland Worldwide(TM), the multi-faceted Lifestyle Design and Marketing firm, to bring fashion and bridal jewelry to market as Kathy Ireland Jewelry exclusively for House of Taylor Jewelry. This KIWW entity is a principal shareholder and following the merger an additional 1,000,000 shares of common stock may be issued to this KIWW entity based on performance criteria.
Through this license agreement, both companies will combine resources in fine jewelry design and marketing to serve jewelry retailers with an array of unique and traditional designs. Dame Elizabeth will produce jewelry which will range from USD3000 to Elizabeth Couture pieces at a price point of more than USD1,000,000. The Kathy Ireland Collections will serve as opening to mid-tier pricing for House of Taylor Jewelry based on Ms. Ireland’s best-selling Style Guides(R). The diverse product will sell in the USD200 to USD2500 range. Ms. Ireland will lead design direction for her own jewelry collections and serve as Ambassador for House of Taylor Jewelry, all under the direction of Dame Elizabeth.
“I wanted to share the passion and joy that jewelry has brought to my life with other people,” said Dame Elizabeth. “This new organization is committed to that effort. Something wonderful is about to happen.”
“Dame Elizabeth is a humanitarian, a legend, an icon and an extraordinary business leader. Her success in the worlds of philanthropy, film and the fragrance industry are unequaled,” added Ms. Ireland. “In the world of jewelry, she is unquestionably without rival. As soon as I learned about Dame Elizabeth’s new jewelry venture, I was captivated by the possibilities of learning from her and joining forces with her. She is my hero and I am so grateful she said yes when I asked to work with her,” said Ms. Ireland.
“I am delighted at our accomplishments of the past few months in reaching this milestone, with thanks in large part to the remarkable Dame Elizabeth and Kathy Ireland,” said Jack Abramov. “The executive team and the entire House of Taylor family is deeply committed to its success and future growth. On behalf of them all, I welcome our shareholders who have chosen to participate with us in this promising endeavor.”
About House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc.
House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. was originally formed on the foundation of an exclusive license between Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Jack and Monty Abramov of Mirabelle Luxury Concepts, best known for its “Mirabelle 18K” boutique consumer brand and its Techline Jewelry affiliate.
Mirabelle introduced the “Mirabelle 18K” brand to the industry in 2002 with the “Original Diamond Handbag Collection” of detailed and handcrafted miniature purse pendants, boldly designed with diamonds and French enamel. These were followed by miniature jeweled handbags adorned with original Mirabelle pendants, and the “Players Club” fine jewelry gaming line and artistic “Flower Power” collection, and exclusive product with Caesars Palace for Sir Elton John and Celine Dion. Techline Jewelry combines state-of-the-art Computer Assisted Design (CAD) with Old World craftsmanship to produce jewelry with futuristic precision diamond settings for its high fashion collections.
About Elizabeth Taylor
Dame Elizabeth Taylor is the star of more than fifty-five films, among them “National Velvet”, “A Place in the Sun”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Butterfield 8”, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “Cleopatra”. For nearly two decades, she has been a leader in AIDS activism, including her founding roll in the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR), and establishment of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF). She has also been an extraordinarily successful businesswoman with her best selling line of fragrances.
The recipient of numerous honors and awards, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in the year 2000. In 1987, France bestowed upon her its most prestigious award, the Legion d’Honneur, and in 2001 President Clinton recognized her with the Presidential Citizen’s Medal. She has won two Academy Awards for Best Actress, and in 1993 she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for her work on behalf of AIDS. She also received the BAFTA Fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Elizabeth Taylor lives in Bel-Air, Calif. She has four children, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
One of Dame Elizabeth’s greatest passions is jewelry, and over the years she has amassed one of the world’s foremost collections. She immortalized her outstanding jewelry collection in The New York Times best-selling book “My Love Affair with Jewelry.”
About Kathy Ireland Worldwide
Kathy Ireland is CEO and Chief Designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide(TM), the Los Angeles-based company she founded in 1993 and has a powerful mission, “…finding solutions for families, especially busy moms.” By staying true to her mission she has been recognized as a “best friend to working mothers” by the Associated Press and The Times of London, by Inc. magazine as the nation’s leading female celebrity entrepreneur and by Forbes for building “a design empire.”
Today thousands of products embody her design philosophy and style, including furniture, flooring, lighting, apparel, decorative accessories, home office and theatre, and bed and window coverings. The Kathy Ireland Brand has a Designer of the Year Nomination, the Good Housekeeping Seal, and a San Francisco Flower and Garden Show Gold Medal. She was named National Mother of the Year by the National Mother’s Day Council. Ms. Ireland also serves as National Ambassador for Youth for the PTA.
When did you meet Dame Elizabeth?
After the merger Monty and I visit Elizabeth at her home with Sterling Winters and their crew. It was Frank Sinatra’s house previously…it’s up in the hills of Bel Air, Israeli Security lives on the property 24/7. A chef prepared us food and drinks and we wait for about three hours before she comes downstairs. Jason and Liz had very unique and loving relationship.
ET ran her business out of the home, collecting $ from White Diamonds Perfume, publishing and running the ET Aids foundation there. So many great pictures of her and celebs …she arrived in a wheelchair, we all looked right into her captivating eyes, Mendelson and security brought trays of her jewelry down for us to see it, she is wearing the Krupp Diamond on her finger, Mendelson shows us her amazing Bvlgari, Van Cleef, Cartier, David Webb pieces. $ 200m worth of art on the walls with a very plain looking country ranch type home.
Elizabeth knows her jewelry and she wanted to see and feel our jewelry and examine the construction and workmanship. We brought a suitcase full of bangles, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings, and she was very excited. Liz picked out a bunch of pieces that she loved, stacks of diamond bangles, we left every one of them for her, Winters said he would pick up the tab.
Liz says to me, “My hebrew name is Elisheva, you can call me Eli Sheba, I’m Jewish too!”
Monty came back to the house many times and worked with Liz upstairs in her bedroom, intimately sketching jewelry and designing matching suites. I used to kid around with him about what really went on up there! Here is ET wearing “Frost” designed by Elizabeth Taylor and Monty Abramov.
Elizabeth loved presents, especially jewelry! Jason knew that love was insatiable so we made a deal that he could buy anything she wanted from HOTJ a bit over cost, and the surprise gifts were flowing to her all of the time.
One evening Jason called me wanting to buy Elizabeth a gift. It was 6PM on a Friday and he needed it that night for a special occasion, it had to be wrapped and hand delivered to ET asap! There was a problem since we had closed the office for the day and I was planning to leave in an hour with a car full of kids and Dorit to Vegas for the Yerushalmi wedding. I had learned quickly that whatever the Dame wants she gets. So at 8PM I pack up the family and head to the office. They waited in the car as I zoomed up to the Sunset office to pick out something wonderful for ET. Jason wanted a sapphire and diamond bracelet so I found the nicest one we had, boxed and wrapped it myself, wrote the card to Elizabeth from Jason and proceeded to drive to Bel Air.
We arrived to her house around 10PM but ET was not home. Security invited all of us in to wait for her in the living room. Dorit and the kids were so excited to be there and to meet her. In fashionably late style, the Dame arrives home close to 1AM! I gave her the gift and we all got to say hello and good night to her. At 1AM we hit the road to Vegas and I spoke to Jason for nearly four hours while driving in the middle of the night through the desert while everyone slept. He was so appreciative that I went the extra mile for ET that he wanted to make sure I didn’t fall asleep and arrived safely. I had learned the secret to success, whatever, whenever, however, no excuses, just get it done! We arrived at 5AM, and had breakfast in the coffee shop with all the crazy people that had been up all night! I will never forget that experience.
This was one of the concepts that we prepared for review but never launched, an Elizabeth Taylor bridal collection. Funny story because the project was nixed by the marketing team at Sterling Winters after some idiot on my team, Merlin, joked that she had been married 9 times!
Why did you retain Roth Capital in Newport Beach?
Right after we completed the $6.5M financing, the pressure was on to raise more money. Sterling Winters and I knew we needed a “war chest” to market and expand these brands correctly. We decide to work with a local Orange County Powerhouse, Roth Capital, and HOTJ participates and meets investors at the Roth Capital Investor Conference at the famed St. Regis hotel in Dana Point. Roth throws an insane party for the guests with The Pussycat Dolls and Snoop Dogg performing. Roth Brokers Joe Schimmelpfennig and Chris Chen lead the efforts to get the deal closed, and they succeed like champions.
2005 NOVEMBER – HOTJ retains Roth Capital Partners as Financial advisors
House of Taylor Jewelry Retains Roth Capital Partners As Financial Advisor Los Angeles, CA, November 8, 2005 – House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. (OTCBB: HJWL), an international multi-brand jewelry manufacturing and marketing company whose principal shareholders include Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland, announced today that it has retained Roth Capital Partners, LLC, to act as its financial advisor.
“We are very pleased that Roth Capital Partners will serve as financial advisor and we look forward to working with them as we grow our business,” said Jack Abramov, the Company’s CEO.
Roth Capital was chosen as financial advisor because of its expertise in the retail and consumer products sectors, and its focus on the micro- and small cap markets.
Since 1984 Roth Capital Partners, LLC (“Roth”) has been a leader and innovator in the small and micro cap markets. Roth’s exclusive focus is providing a full spectrum of investment banking services, including raising capital, research coverage, creating liquidity, trading and market making, merger and acquisition advisory services, sales support, and investor conferences, to our corporate and institutional clients.
House of Taylor Jewelry Inc is a Los Angeles-based international jewelry company founded by principal shareholders Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Kathy Ireland and members of the Abramov family. House of Taylor Jewelry serves the best jewelry retailers worldwide with the most diverse jewelry creations, marketed under the unparalleled and prestigious House of Taylor Jewelry brand, which includes Elizabeth, Mirabelle and Kathy Ireland Jewelry Exclusively for House of Taylor.
2005 DECEMBER I received a letter from DeBeers in London inviting us to visit and discuss the Elizabeth Taylor project in more detail…she is of course, “The woman more associated with diamonds than any woman in the world”. Monty and I fly to London and arrange a professional video conference together with De Beers Execs in London and Liz Taylor with Tim Mendelson and Jason Winters from her home in Bel Air. It was a scene out of the movies…the marketing executives at De Beers were very excited during the call and agreed to personally introduce us to several of the largest diamond miners and cutters in the world to insure HOTJ’s direct supply of multi-million dollar special diamonds for the Elizabeth project, even as large as 100 carats. This was of course, the power of Elizabeth Taylor.
Roth brokers prepare a private placement to raise $ 10M for HOTJ. We pitched investors and they were loving it! This was a sexy deal for them. Roth’s commission is 8%, no wonder all of these guys drive Lamborghinis! Roth exceeds expectations, in May 2006 HOTJ raises $ 11.6M, $ 1.6 Million over subscribed!
House of Taylor: Secures $ 11.6M investment, Product Line, Staff, Sales Expand in First-half 2006
May, 2006 3:11 PM By Jeff Miller Rapaport
At June 30, 2006, House of Taylor Jewelry had cash, cash equivalents and marketable jewelry inventory of $11.1 million, compared with $6.4 million at December 31, 2005. The company has no bank debt.
During the second quarter, the company secured gross proceeds of about $11.6 million in a private placement of convertible notes and warrants, with funds being used for inventory purchases, marketing strategies, corporate partnering initiatives and general working capital.
“With our infrastructure now in place, management remains focused on execution of our marketing and rollout plan,” company CEO Jack Abramov said. “We believe House of Taylor Jewelry has an extraordinary growth opportunity, bringing to market well-known, proven, world class brands in a wide range of price categories.”
House of Taylor Jewelry’s principal shareholders include entities owned by Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland and the company began trading on the NASDAQ in March 2006.
Wow Jack, 2005 was an exciting year, but HOTJ was still on the Pink Sheets. How did you move it to NASDAQ?
We had applied to NASDAQ and paid the $ 50,000 application fee. On February 20th 2006, I received an acceptance letter! Everyone working on the project was on top of the world! Our family shares had a value of over $ 60 Million.
HJWL House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. Moves to NASDAQ Capital Market
PR Newswire – February 28, 2006 9:02 AM (EDT)
Company to Begin Trading March 1, 2006 Under New Symbol HOTJ
LOS ANGELES, Feb 28, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ — House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: HJWL), an international multi-brand jewelry marketing company whose principal shareholders include Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland, has received notification from NASDAQ that the company’s stock has been accepted for listing on the Capital Market effective March 1, 2006. The company will trade under the symbol HOTJ.
“The timing was perfect,” stated CEO Jack Abramov, “Dame Elizabeth and Kathy Ireland were notified of this while celebrating Dame Elizabeth’s birthday together yesterday. The involvement of Dame Elizabeth and Kathy Ireland in product assortment, design direction and media support is a real asset to our company and unique in our industry.”
He continued, “We believe the NASDAQ listing will increase the visibility of the company, enhance the liquidity of our stock and benefit our shareholders.”
The company is developing an innovative branding strategy that spans the jewelry market spectrum from entry-level to couture. House of Taylor Jewelry markets its products under the Kathy Ireland Jewelry(R), House of Taylor(R), and Elizabeth(R) Collection brands, through retailers ranging from chic Gearys Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive to independent jewelers across the country.
“Consumer awareness of House of Taylor jewelry has reached international levels,” said Abramov. “We continue to focus on building a strong foundation and business capable of satisfying the tremendous response from retailers and consumers worldwide for our brand.”
“This is a very exciting moment in the development of House of Taylor Jewelry Inc. I am delighted. Something wonderful is about to happen,” this said Dame Elizabeth Taylor.
“Seeing the vision of Dame Elizabeth’s genius realized in this way is amazing. I am humbled to be allowed to work with her, learn from her and design for House of Taylor Jewelry Inc.,” said Kathy Ireland.
The company will be introducing new designs to the retail trade at three industry shows in late May and early June. The Couture International show is an invitation-only event for the top couture jewelry retailers worldwide and will be held May 30-June 2 at the Wynn Las Vegas. The JCK show is being held in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Venetian Hotel on June 3-7, and Signature Salons show will be held concurrently at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Ok, HOTJ just raised another $ 11.6 Million and moved to NASDAQ! What was the plan?
We were on fire but you know how they say, easy come, easy go. $ 1.8M was paid for commissions, audits and legal. Our burn rate had increased to $300k per month so we had to move aggressively to get ready for the upcoming shows in the summer of 2006. We pushed all factories with product development for all categories.
I was introduced to diamond Billionaire Lev Leviev at a dinner party in Brentwood at Ezri Namvar’s house by our Bank Leumi friend Moty Levy. I told Mr. Leviev about our project and mentioned that I met with De Beers regarding Elizabeth and Site holder partnerships for special diamonds we were looking to source for the collection. Mr. Leviev told me to call the head of his New York office, Paul Raps…we called him Effy. I contacted Effy the next morning, and after one friendly phone call from Kathy, we ended up getting a continuous $5 Million supply of excellent Russian cut loose diamonds for our Kathy Ireland Diamond Essentials Project. This was our most successful initiative, supplying hundreds of retailers with the Diamond basics they sell every day.
HOTJ was the star of the 2006 Vegas Jewelry Shows. What did you do to promote the Company?
We went on a marketing blitz! We have Liz go on Larry King Live for 1 hour to promote jewelry line before all the Vegas Shows. Industry friends tell me we received $ 20 Million in advertising for free!
HOTJ takes full page spreads in all the jewelry magazines to promote KI Jewelry. Kathy gave HOTJ unbelievable support on many levels. Sterling Winters trained the KI team to be experts…Jon Carrasco with photography, Steven Roseberry with marketing, Rocco Ingemi with communications and Yossi Fixman an ex Israeli Military guy as “The Fixer” helping us constantly. There was Chef Andre Carthen keeping everyone satisfied, Bart Raposo on scheduling, Miles Robinson with operations and a bunch of other guys working day and night getting things done.
I had arranged for a meeting of the board of directors and potential investors in Las Vegas prior to the shows. Dorit flew in with her younger sister Karen to help me host a dinner and evening of entertainment. Kathy is a serious closer. She flew in from Santa Barbara to surprise us and joined the meeting. Kathy left everyone speechless and sealed the commitment from the investors.
Here is the Larry King Live Interview with Elizabeth Taylor right before the Las Vegas Jewelry Shows. We had this interview running 24/7 during the show on one screen, and Kathy Ireland’s HOTJ marketing reel on another. There was nothing like it!
OUR MARKETING TEAM CREATED a HOUSE OF TAYLOR JEWELRY CORPORATE REEL – NBC, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD, CNN
2006 JUNE Our marketing efforts get big support from Sterling Winters, articles and editorial with HOTJ jewelry and Dame Elizabeth in Harpers Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Elle, Town & Country and many others.
Winters has a fantastic plan to promote the brand to select retailers…we buy out her Coffee Table book, “My Love Affair with Jewelry” from the publisher, all 2500 copies they have left. We have 1,000 signed by ET on a secret printing machine at Sterling Winters. We mailed this incredible book to the jewelry press and the top 1,000 jewelers in the USA with a beautiful personal invitation. It was like getting invited to the ball!
2006 June & July, The Company introduces new designs at trade shows Couture International, Luxury by JCK and Signature Salons at the Wynn Las Vegas.
The Show is a hit with $ Millions in orders. Now the challenge, fulfilling it all….
This exclusive Elizabeth Taylor license included everything from Million Dollar diamond rings all the way down to costume jewelry and everything in between, including use of her iconic images and photographs to use in our marketing. But the plan was to wait till year 5 to do costume jewelry with the majors and TV. Winters directed the project to start at the top with the independent channel and then roll down the categories and product lines slowly outwards to mass. He said that if done correctly, this was a license to print money. We even had a plan to produce exquisite 18k gold and diamond cocktail watches and jeweled eyewear under the Elizabeth brands.
2006 OCTOBER – NATIONAL JEWELER COVER
DAME ELIZABETH TAYLOR VOTED JEWELRY INDUSTRY’S
‘TOP STYLE ICON’
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – October 26, 2006 – House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOTJ), today announced that principal shareholder, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, graced the cover of The National Jeweler magazine’s 100th Anniversary Edition.
The venerable trade publication said Dame Elizabeth Taylor was selected as the jewelry industry’s top style icon based on an online poll of jewelry industry professionals.
“It is truly an honor to be associated with an industry icon who epitomizes elegance and captures the timeless tradition of beautiful jewelry,” said Jack Abramov, president and chief executive officer. “Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s exquisite sense of style is a reflection of House of Taylor Jewelry, and we are fortunate that her eye for design helps shape our company’s product offering.”
You had a huge ramp up in sales in 2006. How was the company handling the increase?
We made a deal with the devil, the financing Roth arranged through Sandell Asset Management had top line revenue milestones that had to be met, or else! Cem Hacioglu was the guy in charge at Sandell and he was charming as hell, but tough as nails. He wouldn’t budge on those top line milestones, even if it killed us with losses. We had no choice but to push things hard to get over these crazy threshold hurdles. I turned to the Sterling Winters with the solution of how to blow through the milestones…sell loose diamonds.
Since there is little profit in loose diamonds, the company would go broke paying Elizabeth 8% on sales. My idea is to lower the royalty on loose diamonds to 1%. Winters wants to present the idea to Elizabeth so one night we arrange a meeting at her house. He asked me to bring some tall and handsome Israeli diamond guys with me to make it fun so I invited my buddies Aviv and Alon from Mega Diamonds to help charm the Dame and bring some spectacular diamonds to show her. She loved to be around good looking guys and I knew they would be perfect. We meet ET and Winters for drinks and fun at Elizabeth’s home. Of course, she loved the diamonds and the company…Jason and Elizabeth recite movie lines all night and have a blast! The next day she accepts a 1% royalty on loose and certified diamonds…and we are off to the races.
2006 OCTOBER – First 9 Months of 2006, Company reports $ 15.9M in Sales. Loss $ 3.1M from warrant liability and interest expense. Liz and Kathy getting big royalty checks, company burning thru money, big expense of being public, Loss widens. Shares feeling pressure.
House of Taylor Jewelry Q3 Sales Shoot Up Eight-Fold
November 23, 06 by IDEX Online Staff Reporter
House of Taylor Jewelry posted third quarter net sales of $12 million, eight times higher than the $1.3 million in the same period a year ago, and nearly five times more than the $2.5 million reported in the second quarter.
The jewelry company, whose principal shareholders include Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland, reported that January – September net sales rose sharply to $15.9 million from $3.2 million in the comparable prior-year period and exceeded the targeted $14 million threshold established for the nine months.
According to Jack Abramov, president and CEO, the company has established alliances with some of the world’s largest diamond mining and polishing companies. “Now, our customers can also depend on House of Taylor Jewelry to serve as a reliable, competitive and consistent source of fine polished diamonds in all shapes and sizes – one of the product categories most in demand year-round.”
So you had these huge milestones to hit, what kind of pressure was that like?
Yes, $ 14M by end of the 3rd quarter and $ 30 Million by December 31. That was next to impossible. We had to act fast and think big. It was tremendous pressure, it blurred all of our focus. Unfortunately, if we missed the thresholds, we would pay dearly. The hedge fund would ratchet the shares they received from $4.25 down to $1, essentially getting 4 times the shares, diluting everyone including Elizabeth and Kathy. Worse, they were shorting the stock like crazy so the shares were falling every week even though we exceeded our milestones. I knew that we were being conned by Sandell and by the stock promoters that manipulated everything.
Because of the pressure to perform I didn’t sleep much, and fortunately for me neither did Winters…we had very deep talks and we trying to make history together. His expertise is vision and strategy, and we both drove our teams like maniacs, working 24/7 calling, emailing, texting, meeting at anytime of the day or night, weekends holidays. This blasted our performance to get things done, no excuses.
We needed to launch a huge initiative that would guarantee us over $ 15 Million in sales in the 4th Quarter of 2006 OMG! We created our own diamond certificate program, the first ever for a NASDAQ Company!
House of Taylor Launches Branded Diamond Collection
December 6, 2006 by JCK MAGAZINE
House of Taylor Wednesday said it is enhancing its loose, solitaire, and certified diamond offerings to retailers and the jewelry trade.
“Diamonds are one of the product categories most in demand year round,” said Jack Abramov, president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles based company. “We are pleased that we can now offer our customers an uninterrupted supply of these diamonds in all shapes, colors, sizes, and purities as a result of established supplier alliances with some of the world’s largest and most powerful diamond mining and polishing companies.”
By some miracle, we exceed our $ 30 Million milestone, but it was not without heavy damages. We ramped up from $ 5.6M the year before and we were suffering major losses. The expenses were going thru the roof, we had burned Millions, licensors were demanding huge checks every month…being a publicly traded company was a huge burden. Although we had jumped thru hoops in 2006, we needed more money.
House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) Sees 2006 Sales Exceeding $30 Million Target
January 9, 2007 8:25 AM EST
House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. (Nasdaq: HOTJ) reported that following a preliminary review, it expects sales for the year ended December 31, 2006 will exceed the $30 million threshold established in connection with the placement of the company’s senior convertible notes and warrants in May 2006. The company recorded sales of $5.6 million for 2005 and exceeded its initial sales threshold of $14 million for the first nine months of 2006.
“The strong sales growth achieved in 2006 reflects increased market penetration and demand for HOTJ’s branded jewelry collections and certified loose diamond products from jewelers and distributors in the United States and select international markets,” said Jack Abramov, president and chief executive officer of House of Taylor Jewelry.
Jack, HOTJ ramped up by 500% in 2006, what was the plan for 2007?
So, February rolls around and it’s Oscar Time. Monty and Elizabeth create jewelry suites for the Red Carpet at the Oscars. Our in-house marketing team was led by Tanya Somera and she was fantastic. The jewelry was magnificent! While all this was going on, I was hustling in New York trying to find another money partner. Wall street wanted us now to hit $ 50M and $100M in sales, those are brutal targets while focusing on building a brand and marketing to independent jewelers. We needed big bucks to hit those numbers.
2007 FEBRUARY – ELIZABETH TAYLOR PROMOTES JEWELRY LINE AHEAD OF OSCARS
House Of Taylor To Showcase Red Carpet Collection
Feb 20, 2007 11:03 AM By Zach Helke
RAPAPORT… House of Taylor Jewelry Inc., known for its principal shareholders Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland, will showcase a collection designed by Taylor at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, ahead of the 79th Annual Academy Awards.
“On behalf of House of Taylor Jewelry, I want to extend my congratulations to this year’s nominees,” said company president and CEO Jack Abramov. “We are honored to share the magic each of these pieces possess and thank Dame Elizabeth for the extraordinary jewelry she has designed for us.”
The Red Carpet Collection features seven different jewelry suites, such as Moon and Stars, a diamond and pearl necklace and bracelet set, and Masquerade, a diamond, ruby, and blue sapphire necklace and chandelier earring set.
“The jewelry Dame Elizabeth designs is fit for royalty, and what better way to complement an Oscar and an elegant gown than to have the essence of a Hollywood legend draped around your neck,” said company vice president of marketing Yossi Fixman.
2007 MARCH – Now that we needed Big $ and strong strategic partners to stay alive, we hired Financo as our money matchmaker. I flew to Manhattan to meet with Mary Ann Domuracki and explained what we needed. Cash, Fast!
House of Taylor Retains Financo as Advisor
Mar 20, 2007 5:37 AM By Deena Taylor
RAPAPORT… House of Taylor Jewelry Inc. will retain Financo Inc., an independent retail and consumer advisory firm and investment bank, as advisor in order to accelerate and expand the company’s worldwide branding and related growth initiatives.
“Engaging an advisory firm with Financo’s specialized expertise and knowledge of the jewelry sector represents an important milestone in the development of our company,” said Jack Abramov, president and chief executive officer of House of Taylor Jewelry.
We announced our 2006 numbers in April of 2007, ending the year, not surprisingly, with a loss. The press was not favorable and I was getting hammered even though we had blown by the thresholds. We needed money fast or we were going to run out soon.
House of Taylor Reports Substantial Growth in ’06, Year-end Loss at $8.4M
Apr 16, 2007 7:17 PM By Jeff Miller
House of Taylor Jewelry Incorporated grew fourth quarter of 2006 sales to $15.9 million from $2.5 million in fourth quarter 2005 the company reported after the closing bell on April 16, 2007. The company’s diamond program, a major driver for the sales increase, produced $11.6 million in loose diamond sales during the fourth quarter, which ended December 31, 2006.
the 2007 Las Vegas Jewelry Shows were approaching and you were pushing sales hard to hit big hurdles, what was the gameplan?
2007 MAY– Even though we had two powerhouse Women and brands, we were fighting an uphill battle. Running a business that’s bleeding while trying to raise $Millions is a gargantuan challenge. Our team was tough and resilient, we had to push through to win. We came out swinging again for the big Jewelry shows in Las Vegas and New York. Kathy flew out to work the show, and the spotlight was on us again.
We descended on the Vegas shows locked, stocked and loaded, trucking in with Brinks our entire $20 Million inventory of HOTJ and Kathy Ireland Jewelry and boxes of certified loose diamonds from 1 to 10 carats. Sami Hajibay from Piranssi flew in from New York with $25 Million in spectacular Elizabeth Couture jewelry, and we had another $ 15 Million in Autore Pearls, part of a strategic alliance we signed giving us direct sourcing some of the finest pearls in the world in exchange for this cover shot to promote the brand. Everyone wanted a piece of Elizabeth.
We had a secret plan, to bring Dame Elizabeth to Vegas for a surprise appearance during the Luxury by JCK show at the Venetian Hotel. It’s an invitation only show for the finest retailers in the USA. It had to be a surprise since we didn’t know till the last minute if she could even attend. Everything was arranged in advance and the day before the Luxury show opened, I received the call from Winters that she was coming.
We flew her in by private jet, invited her hair dresser Jose Eber too…we had Las Vegas Police escort her the entire time, and stocked her suite at the Venetian with an obscene amount of flowers. We even made one of our team members in charge of misting her room and our booth every few hours with Gardenia by Elizabeth Taylor Eau de Parfum Spray!
BEST IN SHOW JCK MAGAZINE – LA LIZ STOPS BY OUR JEWELRY BOOTH IN LAS VEGAS TO WORK THE SHOW –
This was an unforgettable, very memorable experience for our team members and the entire crowd at the show. When she entered the show, it was like a time warp. Everything stopped, people were in disbelief. Many called out “we love you Elizabeth!”, they said “you are my inspiration, you are incredible!” Everyone wanted to touch her, to look at her. Her police bodyguards escorted her over to our booth, in a wheelchair. She came in and started working the show, wow! Talking to customers, our ambassadors, show staff. It was a serious mob scene, neighboring jewelers ran over with pieces in their hands to show her, hoping she would buy something, it was pandemonium! once again, we were superstars.
She spent 2 hours at the show, then she was whisked away the next morning. HOTJ’s cost to have Dame Elizabeth fly in for one night including expenses, $ 56,000.
VIVA LAS VEGAS – IDEX ONLINE ISRAEL
By Danielle Max
Prior to the opening of JCK Las Vegas, a select group of buyers were able to whet their buying appetites at three pre-show events – Premier and Luxury by JCK at the Venetian, and Couture at the Wynn.
The House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) booth was another stand heaving with visitors – although that could have had something to do with the presence of ex-Sports Illustrated model turned mega-entrepreneur Kathy Ireland. President and CEO Jack Abramov put the success of the show down to the differentiated products his company carries. At the top end of the market, the Los Angeles based HOTJ markets its Elizabeth brand, House of Taylor Jewelry, and the Kathy Ireland Jewelry line.
“Kathy Ireland and Elizabeth Taylor have huge consumer awareness,” he said. “With such a challenging market, retailers are looking for a strategy to stay in the game. They believe that by aligning themselves with brands that have such huge consumer pull, it will help them in their overall survival and success strategy.”
While the show may have been good for HOTJ, Abramov is already looking to the future, which he is betting will be big. “I believe that HOTJ will one day be a billion dollar company,” he said, although he refused to put a time frame on his estimate.
We were under enormous pressure to secure a credit line and some capital as our cash reserves were running dry and expenses were out of control. Financo introduced us to New Stream Capital. They were ready to give us financing with a huge $30 Million credit facility, enough for us to fund selling to the majors and giving large credit lines to our independent retailers. They demanded that Elizabeth contribute $1M as an investment to show her commitment…and she agreed.
2007 OCTOBER – LETTER TO DAME ELIZABETH FROM JACK ABRAMOV –
TAYLOR INVESTS $ 1M equity into the company
October 16, 2007
Dear Dame Elizabeth;
We, at the House of Taylor Jewelry, wish to offer our extreme gratitude to you for your continuing support for the Company with your $1,000,000 equity infusion as part of our recently completed financing. This financing was essential for the Company to continue our growth and execution of our business plan. Your equity contribution was critical in enabling us to secure the financing because it demonstrated your continued support and confidence in the Company. Other investors and our new bank – New Stream followed your lead and we were able to secure this needed financing.
We will return your confidence by working hard and diligently to make the House of Taylor a great success – for both our investors and the employees who love working here.
Very Sincerely Yours,
2007 OCTOBER – HOTJ secures $ 30M in financing and $ 5.8M from stock sale– this is the beginning of the end…
House of Taylor Secures $30M Facility from New Stream Capital
Oct 15, 2007 10:01 AM By Jeff Miller
RAPAPORT… House of Taylor Jewelry Inc. secured a $30 million credit facility through New Stream Capital. The facility consists of a three-year, $5 million term loan and a $25 million revolving line of credit.
Jack Abramov, president and chief executive officer, said, “In just 24 months, we have significantly expanded the number of independent retail doors that carry our branded products. The credit facility and equity investment position us to meet demand and ramp up production and distribution as we continue our strategic expansion of the Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland brands, particularly in our Kathy Ireland bridal and diamond essential categories.”
Newsroom Full Article
HOTJ Secures Additional Financing
October 17, 07 by IDEX Online Staff Reporter
Jewelry firm House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) announced Monday that it has completed several initiatives that will serve to strengthen its capital structure. It has secured a $30 million credit facility through New Stream Capital, which consists of a three-year, $5 million term loan and a $25 million revolving line of credit.
HOTJ has also completed an equity financing and receiving gross proceeds of approximately $5.8 million through the issuance of approximately 6.1 million shares of common stock. The term of the warrants, each of which allows the holder to purchase one share of common stock at an exercise price of $0.95 per share, is seven years.
Lastly, the company has repaid the balance of its senior secured convertible notes, issued in May 2006, for approximately $9.6 million, using proceeds from the equity financing and borrowings from the credit facility.
“Completing these initiatives (…) substantially increase the company’s financial flexibility and provide us with the opportunity to effectively execute on our long-term growth strategies,” commented Jack Abramov, president and CEO.
“The credit facility and equity investment position us to meet demand and ramp up production and distribution as we continue our strategic expansion of the Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland brands,” he added, “particularly in our Kathy Ireland bridal and diamond essential categories.”
HOTJ also announced that Bob Rankin, the firm’s CFO, has assumed the additional executive role of chief operating officer.
The rates were low initially but contained punishing increases if borrowing ratios were out of line. When we closed the financing with New Stream our loan was $ 5M, within months the loan balance was $ 12M and the interest rates doubled. It was impossible to recover at that point.
There was a historic event with you and Dame Elizabeth in Beverly Hills, tell me about it?
2007 NOVEMBER – Now that we received our financing, we were preparing for a special event to promote the Jewelry Collection at Gearys, Bev Hills. We informed BH City Hall in advance and they responded with a spectacular show of respect and honor for the Dame. The Beverly Hills Police and Fire Department deployed dozens of men and women and they closed Beverly Drive for the 1st time ever…and rolled out a huge red carpet along the street in front of Gearys, lined with admirers and paparazzi. It was an invite only event, ET was so excited, she felt alive and back in the spotlight. The Gay Man’s Chorus of Los Angeles performed as celebs and special guests enjoyed champagne, hors d’oeuvres and models wearing gorgeous jewelry.
Elizabeth Taylor Releases New Jewelry Line at Maximum Capacity Event
November 15, 07 by IDEX Online Staff Reporter
Elizabeth Taylor revealed her holiday jewelry line from the Elizabeth collection for House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) yesterday at GEARYS Beverly Hills, at a party so packed the fire marshal was forced to close the store to any additional guests.
Elizabeth Taylor Greets Fans at Holiday Collection Launch in Beverly Hills
Nov 14, 2007 12:23 PM By Jeff Miller
Actress (Dame) Elizabeth Taylor presented her latest designs from the Elizabeth line at Gearys in Beverly Hills, California, to kick off her holiday jewelry collection. As would be expected — the famed actress and principal of House of Taylor Jewelry attracted quite a crowd, which forced the Beverly Hills fire marshal to close the store to additional guests.
Lifestyle designer Kathy Ireland, who also offers jewelry collections under the House of Taylor brand, was present for the event as well. “Dame Elizabeth is my hero and mentor. Her jewels are stunning but none of them rival her personal brilliance and beauty,” Ireland said.
House of Taylor president and CEO Jack Abramov added that he is thrilled Taylor herself continues to play an active role in marketing the company’s brands. “Dame Elizabeth’s association with fine jewelry is legendary and her gracious appearance at the Gearys event in Beverly Hills in support of her exclusive Elizabeth collection of diamond and couture jewels was over the top!”
The event allowed shoppers to view the full range of House of Taylor Jewelry brands. Taylor is said to have given shoppers and her fans a rare opportunity to experience her collections in her presence.
Taylor said, “This wonderful event was indeed an extraordinary way to begin the holiday season. I thank everyone at Gearys for their support.”
Gearys’ president Thomas Blumenthal said, “Only an event with an icon, like Dame Elizabeth, can draw a crowd at maximum capacity.”
How did 2007 end? What were you planning to do?
By the end of 2007, I was getting burnt out and sick of the pressure to perform every quarter. At the same time Dorit gave birth to our fourth child Mia and I had been working like a maniac and not taking care of my daddy duties. In January 2008 I told the board of directors that I wanted to hand over the reins to another executive AKA punching bag. My employment agreement was maturing at the end of March so I began my search for a new CEO. Of course, I would remain a significant shareholder and partners with ET and Kathy forever…so I thought.
Making things worse, the financial crisis of 2007-2008 hit everyone, and the press was getting wind of the big problems brewing at HOTJ. The LA Business Journal phoned me in January 2008 for an interview, and this was the stinking result.
Chalk it up to wishful thinking.
Taylor’s diamond-centric movie-star image has not been enough lately to make sales sparkle for House of Taylor Jewelry Inc., a publicly-traded West Hollywood company that sells her brands called Elizabeth and House of Taylor as well as a line of Kathy Ireland jewelry to boutiques around the country.
House of Taylor Jewelry has seen a slowly declining share price since it first went public on the Nasdaq in 2005. Shares are now off 91 percent and were lingering last week between 40 and 50 cents.
In fact, shares have slipped so perilously low, trading under a dollar consistently since mid-September, that the company has received a notice from Nasdaq warning of delisting by late April if the price doesn’t rise above $1 for 10 straight days.
“From a legal standpoint, I’m not allowed to comment on the stock,” said Jack Abramov, the chief executive of the company. “Elizabeth (Taylor), Kathy (Ireland), and my family are the largest shareholders and there hasn’t been a lot of buying and selling. The number of shares being traded is not reflective of the value of the company.”
Though the company has achieved distribution to about 400 independent retail stores in the last two years of operation, the company’s sales for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 showed a significant drop. Sales were $4.9 million, down from $12 million in the same quarter the previous year. The company also hasn’t earned much, losing money nine out of the last 10 quarters, including $2.42 million in the third quarter.
The poor third-quarter performance was largely attributed to a $6.4 million decrease in the company’s sales of loose diamonds. House of Taylor has been buying diamonds from DeBeers and selling them directly to retailers in order to grow its presence in the marketplace and cement Taylor’s image as a diamond lover.
“It helped us get penetration into the retail channel,” Abramov said. “We knew if we could offer high quality diamonds at a consistent price, retailers would be more willing to buy jewelry from us.”
But diamonds are a commodity and some retailers have started going directly to diamond suppliers for their wares, he said.
And at the same time, House of Taylor has decided to focus more on branded products at affordable prices, especially the Kathy Ireland line, which has distribution through the United States and military exchanges around the world and is sold at prices ranging from about $200 to $3,500. The Elizabeth line has prices up to $1 million and is sold at only a handful of high-end jewelry stores.
House of Taylor isn’t the only company in the sector suffering at the moment though, said Kenneth Gassman, an independent jewelry analyst in Virginia. The whole industry is performing poorly along with the rest of the retail industry.
“Jewelry is a competitive industry driven by discretionary spending,” he said. “Gas prices are up. People have no home equity to borrow. Unemployment is rising. The first thing people cut is jewelry.”
During the Christmas season, average mass market jewelers saw sales down an average of 7 or 8 percent. Some were down as much as 30 percent. However, Gassman doesn’t cover House of Taylor specifically, mostly because he says he doesn’t understand their business model.
“I spent 20 years on Wall Street and I’m not sure I understand these folks’ business,” Gassman said. “I read the prospectus and it was too vague for me so I’ve never followed the company. What are the assets of the business? What do they really own? What do they sell? For better or for worse, they dropped off my radar.”
For his part, Abramov, who is the third largest shareholder in the company behind Taylor and Ireland, is optimistic about the future. A company press release noted the mid-range House of Taylor line saw a “slight sales increase” for the first nine months of 2007, while slight decreases in the other two lines were attributed to a lack of capital that hindered its ability to produce jewelry.
But recently the company closed a $30 million credit facility and secured $5.8 million in equity financing.
“While our financial results are not currently in line with our long-term objectives this additional capital substantially increases our financial flexibility and provides the necessary support for our long term growth strategies,” said Abramov in the press release.
In December, House of Taylor Jewelry signed a deal with Los Angeles-based PD Financial Corp., which operates PeachDirect, a direct to consumer business. The deal is expected to create a new stream of revenue for House of Taylor by selling its branded jewelry through catalogues and Web portals.
I called the best headhunter in the jewelry business, Jon Parker. The search continued and I met some great people for the position to replace me, but one guy stood out, his name was Lyle Rose, a jewelry legend.
The board also liked Lyle and so did the licensors. He had a plan to supply the major department stores with the Kathy Ireland bridal and diamond skus, looking for an opening order for Millions. I knew he was the right guy.
I prepared my letter of resignation and also sent one to ET. Meanwhile while this was going on, the auditors were counting the losses. They had to delay earnings to audit the records. The company was imploding.
Retail News Rapaport
House of Taylor Delays Earnings Report
Extends net loss 76% to $15M
Apr 1, 2008 11:12 AM By Avi Krawitz
RAPAPORT… House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) notified the Nasdaq Tuesday it would be filing its
2007 earnings report late, because the company could not guarantee its estimated figures would
hold during an annual audit.
The company reported its unaudited gross sales fell 35.7 percent to $21.6 million for the year. After returns
of $12 million and sales return allowances of $8.9 million, net sales totaled $200,000, compared with $31.8
million in 2006.
HOTJ expects its net loss for the year ending December 31, 2007 to extend 76 percent into the red
at $14.8 million.
In October, HOTJ received notice from NASDAQ that the company was not in compliance with the
minimum bid price for shares — above $1 a share for 30 consecutive days– and therefore faced delisting.
NASDAQ gave HOTJ until April 28, 2008, to regain compliance.
One year ago HOTJ was trading at $2.80 a share, but it slipped below $1 on August 15. After the
announcement was made, HOTJ gained almost 7 percent to 14.94-cents a share.
2008 APRIL – My 3 year agreement is done, here is my letter TO ELIZABETH TAYLOR Confirming my resignation.
April 8, 2008
Dame Elizabeth Taylor
Sterling Winters Co.
10900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Dearest Dame Elizabeth,
I want to thank you and your extraordinary team for the support and confidence in allowing us to bring your jewelry to market with HOTJ.
Your genius and vision is unparalleled in the world of fine jewelry, and your generosity is beyond compare with your work with HIV/Aids. All of us at HOTJ sincerely appreciate your efforts in support of the company at the jewelry shows and special events in lending us your valuable time and allowing HOTJ to express your vision to the world.
I have resigned my position as CEO and President of HOTJ. Even though I am resigning from my position I will continue to serve the company as a consultant and assist the new CEO with whatever is needed. I do remain a significant shareholder and respectfully wish that you continue with your much needed support and keep you jewelry license with HOTJ. Our new CEO Lyle Rose is already working diligently on turning this company around and increasing shareholder value. In the spirit of full disclosure I am also going to deliver this message to Kathy.
Best wishes and blessings to you and your family.
Now we make it official. Everyone is excited about Lyle Rose, but danger looms as he begs New Stream Capital to loosen the reigns and fund HOTJ till the end of the year.
Abramov Resigns from House of Taylor, Rose Takes Role of Pres.
Apr 10, 2008 8:43 AM By Avi Krawitz
RAPAPORT… House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) appointed Lyle Rose its new president and chief executive officer, following the resignation of Jack Abramov from the position.
The company reported that Abramov resigned as chairman, president and CEO for personal reasons, and that he would serve as a consultant to the company for a six-month transition period. Monty Abramov also resigned as company secretary and vice president.
The Abramov family is among the larger shareholders of HOTJ, along with actress Elizabeth Taylor and lifestyle designer Kathy Ireland.
CRUMBLING HOUSE OF TAYLOR –
2008 MAY – That was the last time anyone from Sterling Winters, Elizabeth Taylor or Kathy Ireland Worldwide ever contacted or spoke to Monty or myself again. They were in damage control and did anything to cover themselves.
The company is crashing, but Lyle Rose convinces New Stream Capital to give it another go. They agree at first, but then choke the company and come in and take charge. The stock is hammered down to an embarrassing $ 0.05 a share.
DAME LIZ’S LOST LUSTER – NEW YORK POST
May 25, 2008 | 6:47am
IF there is one thing Elizabeth Taylor is supposed to know, it’s diamonds.
But three years after the 76-year old Hollywood legend lent her name, image and expertise to help House of Taylor Jewelry go public, the West Hollywood, Calif.-based outfit is sinking under a sea of red ink as creditors start to circle.
Taylor, who owns a 35.1 percent stake in the company, helps design baubles that sell from $3,000 to over $1 million apiece at upscale jewelry stores. She even recruited supermodel-turned-mogul Kathy Ireland to design a line of self-named jewelry aimed at department store shoppers and priced from $200 to $3,500.
Ireland, 45, owns 15.4 percent of the company.
“I wanted to share the passion and joy that jewelry has brought to my life with other people,” Taylor said shortly after the company was launched.
But the powerhouse ownership duo did not equal powerhouse sales. Revenue dropped 10 percent in the nine months ended Sept. 30 and the company reported an operating loss of $4.8 million. The stock, which had hit a high of $7.30 in February 2006, closed Thursday at just under 5 cents a share.
In addition, the company has defaulted on its senior credit agreement and was de-listed from Nasdaq last week.
Company executives will try to revive the brand this week during the largest jewelry trade show, which takes place in Las Vegas. One retail veteran said it would be a long shot.
Next Stop – Delisting
NASDAQ to Complete Delisting Process on House of Taylor
May 9, 2008 5:18 PM By Jeff Miller
Delisting of Securities of House of Taylor Jewelry, Inc. From The NASDAQ Stock Market
2008 – MAY, Nasdaq delists HOTJ
Rapaport – The NASDAQ Stock Market announced today that it will complete its delisting of common stock of House of Taylor Jewelry Inc. (HOTJ) after shares were suspended on April 24, 2008. HOTJ has not traded since that date.
2008 JUNE – Licensors Pull the Licenses – everyone at HOTJ is let go, Its a sad day.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR, KATHY IRELAND PULL OUT OF HOTJ
June 25, 08 by IDEX Online Staff Reporter
After months of struggling, House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) revealed today that Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland have terminated their license agreements with the embattled company. HOTJ said in the SEC filing that it is “unlikely” it will be able to remain in business.
In the filing, HOTJ said it received notice last Thursday from Interplanet Productions Ltd,Taylor’s branded jewelry the marketing firm, that it is terminating the exclusive worldwide license agreement to use her name or market and manufacture under her name.
The Licensing agreement included jewelry, diamonds, watches, bridal adornment and more under the Elizabeth, ET and House of Taylor marks.
On the same day, HOTJ received a termination notice from Sandbox Jewelry LLC, a subsidiary of Kathy Ireland Worldwide that ends an exclusive license to distribute jewelry under the Kathy Ireland mark.
TAYLOR’S JEWELRY COMPANY CLOSES –
ELIZABETH TAYLOR and Kathy Ireland walked away from House of Taylor Jewelry, their ailing jewelry company, last week, forcing the debt-ridden outfit to close up shop.
The two, who owned a combined 49.5 percent of the West Hollywood, Calif.-based concern, had received generous licensing fees, stock and stock options and helped design jewelry sold through upscale retail stores – although it never caught on with shoppers.
Last month, The Post reported about the company’s troubles, that Nasdaq had delisted the ailing company and that executives were trying to revive the brands.
Their efforts didn’t work. New Stream Secured Capital, of Ridgefield, Conn., is owed more than $11 million and it is not known if it will sue the two celebrity owners to get some of it back. Richard Wilner
This was anything but peaceful. New Stream seized the bank accounts, changed the locks in the office and then fired everyone.
NEWSTREAM CAPITAL TAKES PEACEFUL POSSESSION OF HOTJ
Showing Celebrity Can’t Sell Everything
House of Taylor has executed a “Peaceful Possession of Collateral” with its main lender New Stream Secured Capital, leaving debts exceeding $11 million.
New Stream now owns what is left of the company. The company says it has been forced to close its doors because it had no longer had access to operating funds.
Celebrities Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland have already terminated their licensing agreements with the company, after claiming that the company was insolvent.
The failure of the company shows that even two big celebrity names aren’t enough to sell jewelry.
Likewise, jeweler Fred Leighton, who also boasted many celebrity clients, also recently declared Chapter 11
GLOBAL JEWELRY CONCEPTS FILES FOR CHAPTER 7
Global Jewelry Concepts Inc.; AKA: House of Taylor Jewelry Inc.
File date: 11/5/08
2008 DECEMBER – IDEX ONLINE – MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN THE INDUSTRY
Up and down and all around is one way to characterize the “hirings and firings” scene during the last 12 months. Some were promoted, some moved around and others politely (or not) shown the door.
House of Taylor Jewelry (HOTJ) lost personnel left and right as the company crashed and burned. Chairman, President and CEO Jack Abramov resigned from his posts in the spring and was replaced by Lyle M. Rose. Monty Abramov also resigned as secretary and vice president. Later in the year, after months of struggling, HOTJ revealed that both Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland had terminated their license agreements with the company. Peter Mainstain also resigned from the board of directors, and Rose notified the company that he considered the non-payment of his salary as termination from his posts.
2009 JANUARY – NEW STREAM FILES $ 10M LAWSUIT AGAINST JACK ABRAMOV AND DIAMOND VENDORS
I thought this hell was over but come January, New Stream hits me with a huge lawsuit. My D&O Officers and Directors Insurance was $ 10M so they dragged me and all of my diamond vendors into a lawsuit to try and collect the insurance money. The licensors, board members and employees run as far away and as fast as they can. No fault of mine is found and at the end, New Stream sues the CFO Bob Rankin over some handling of loose diamonds on consignment that he secretly added to the asset base without their approval to pull on the credit line. The insurance covers Rankin’s mistakes and they collect an undeclared sum that remains private till this day.
2009 JUNE – HEDGE FUND NEW STREAM CAPITAL CAUGHT
Hedge Fund New Stream Caught With Pants Around Ankles, Says Investor
TERI BUHL JUN 17, 2009
The hedge fund that kicked Veronica Hearst out of her Palm Beach mansion and forced Elizabeth Taylor and Kathy Ireland to bankrupt their jewelry business through predatory financing is now in some trouble of its own. With multiple lawsuits against the firm, along with huge losses in its investments and a lack of liquidity, some investors are balking at the methods the fund used to lock down its capital while returning money to a preferred group. Tied into the mess are questions about what value assets remaining in the fund are now actually worth. There’s talk there could be an investor takeover of the fund.
New Stream Capital makes its money through lending, at high double-digit interest rates, to luxury home owners and commercial businesses that find them self in a short-term cash crunch. Preying on distressed situations, they typically secure the financing with assets worth more than the loan, change the terms of the loan forcing the borrower into default, and then load on enormous fees that often take rates above legal usury rates. They also buy life insurance settlement contracts at a discount and bet when the person will die so they can collect. Last August founder David Bryson issued a release claiming the firm had $1.2 billion in assets – a 2008 audit report on the financial condition of New Stream Secured Capital and Subsidiaries shows assets are $724,993,484.
2013 FEBRUARY – NEW STREAM CAPITAL FRAUD
State Hedge Fund Officers Indicted On Fraud, Conspiracy Charges
EDMUND H. MAHONY
Three officers of New Stream Capital, a Ridgefield hedge fund that for years has been tied-up in bankruptcy court and the subject of a review by securities regulators, were charged with fraud Tuesday following their indictment by a federal grand jury in New Haven late last week.
New Stream, once a billion dollar fund, made money from short-term, high-interest loans to distressed real estate and purchases of life insurance contracts in gambles on the life expectancies of the policy holders. The fund reportedly suffered from the collapse in the real estate market and a decision by the insurance industry to extend life expectancy in the United States.
The 19-count indictment charges David Bryson, 44, of Ridgefield; Bart Gutekunst, 61, of Weston; and Richard Pereira, 40 of Ridgefield with conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud offenses. Bryson and Gutekunst were managing partners and Pereira was the chief financial officer. All pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Hartford Tuesday and were released on bonds of from $300,000 to $5 million.
The three are accused, beginning in 2007, of disguising the structure of their investment funds from investors and concealing the amount of money certain investors were threatening to withdraw from the funds. All three men said Tuesday that they have done nothing wrong.
“Mr. Bryson steadfastly denies any and all allegations of wrong-doing and looks forward to his complete vindication,” his attorney, James Glasser, said.
U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said the three “orchestrated a scheme to deceive investors in order to obtain and maintain investments.”
Some of New Stream’s high-profile business has been the subject of reports in the financial press for years.
The fund was accused in a west coast lawsuit of making predatory loans to owners of pricey, but distressed real estate.
Financial journalist Teri Buhl has reported that New Stream forced Veronica Hearst, wife of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst out of her Palm Beach mansion when she couldn’t pay escalating costs on a distressed real estate loan. Actress Elizabeth Taylor and model Kathy Ireland were forced to walk away from their jewelry business when they couldn’t afford a New Stream loan, Buhl reported.
Tara Bryson, 39, sister of David Bryson and a New Stream officer involved in investor relations, was charged by the Connecticut state police in 2010 with cultivating marijuana at the million dollar Newtown mansion she and her live-in boyfriend called a goat farm.
Connecticut hedge fund executive sentenced to 2 -1/2 years for fraud
2011 DECEMBER – MANY OF THE HOUSE OF TAYLOR JEWELRY AND ELIZABETH ITEMS WE DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED SOLD AT CHRISTIE’S FOR RECORD PRICES
Elizabeth Taylor’s Incredible Jewelry Collection Sold For A Record-Breaking $116 Million Last Night
The crowd at Christie’s laughed and took Taylor’s advice. On the first night of the sale for The Elizabeth Taylor Collection, the actress’ jewelry sold for $115.9 million–a world record for a private jewelry collection sold at auction. The proceeds will go to The Elizabeth Taylor Foundation.
The highlights of the night were a La Peregrina natural pearl, diamond, ruby, and cultured pearl necklace that sold for $11.8 million, including fees. That price broke the world record for the most expensive pearl ever sold at auction, formerly $7 million. The estimated value of Taylor’s necklace was $2 million to $3 million before auction.
Overall, the emeralds and diamonds sold very well, while the gifts from Michael Jackson sold above estimate but on the lower end of the scale. Almost every item sold above its high estimate.
“We had it all. Elizabeth Taylor, Kathy Ireland, millions in the bank, fame and respect. But in the end, we fucked it all up.” Jack Abramov
Since 2013, Jack Abramov serves as CEO of International Vintage Watch Company, a boutique firm in Beverly Hills that sells fine pre-owned and collectable timepieces online.