What started as a small family owned jeans boutique has flourished into a global lifestyle brand. Guess?, Inc. currently designs, markets, distributes, and licenses a leading lifestyle collection of contemporary apparel and accessories for men, women, and children that mirror the American lifestyle, while grasping European fashion sensibilities. While the foundation of Guess, Inc.’s history and massive success can be attributed to their roots in the sale of jeans, Guess, Inc. has now expanded globally, granting licenses for the manufacture and distribution of a full line of product categories. Guess, Inc. operates in 87 countries, with the majority of the stores in the U.S. and Canada. As of 2010, Guess has 1292 stores, 504 in North America, 441 in Europe, and 347 in South East Asia (Breif History of the Company and the Marciano Brothers). The company has agreements with 17 licensees. Throughout the past 30 years, Guess, Inc. has made every effort to maintain their status as a global phenomenon. History
CEO and Chairman, Maurice Marciano, and Co-Chairman, Paul Marciano
The epitome of a successful family business, Guess, Inc was founded in 1981 by the four Marciano brothers, Georges, Armand, Paul, and Maurice (Guess?, Inc.). They came equipped with experience in the fashion industry, having previously owned and operated a chain of twelve retail stores in France (Guess, Inc.). The brothers moved to California from Marseilles, France in 1977, where Guess was born, starting as a small jeans company. Georges Marciano was the designer of the jeans, and the brothers gave them the name “Guess” as they believed that word to be easy to pronounce due to their limited English (Guess, Inc.). The company’s original jeans were innovative for its time, stone-washed, made to fit tightly, and featured zippers at the ankles. They called this the “Marilyn Jean” (Guess, Inc.), and the style lived up to its name, with a sexy, unique style and attitude. They had a softer feel and lighter colors than typical denim jeans. They also featured the classic Guess triangle on the back pocket, which would soon become the distinctive Guess trademark. Believing strongly in his family’s jean business, Georges flew to New York, and convinced Bloomingdale’s to display 30 pairs of his European-style jeans on consignment in the Bloomingdale’s flagship New York store (Guess, Inc.). Within three hours, Bloomingdale’s sold out every pair. Demand for the jeans soon skyrocketed, and the brothers would find themselves overwhelmed.
Though he possessed no previous advertising experience, the brothers appointed Paul Marciano as their advertising director, in hope of expanding their capital. This proved to be wildly successful, as Paul would design an ad campaign that would revolutionize the way jeans and other clothing were sold. Seeking to take a different direction from the typical studio design, Paul brought the models and the jeans outdoors, using grainy black-and-white photography. He had the models show off the jeans using provocative poses, which would later be described by Forbes Magazine as “catering to teenage cravings for sex, power, attention, and self-love…electric not only with sexuality, but with an implicit brutality and exhibitionism as well.” (GUESS INC (NYSE: GES) | Balance Sheet). These controversial ads would quickly create a household name for Guess. By the end of 1982, their jeans produced about $12 million in revenue (Guess, Inc.). Over the next 15 years, Guess would grow from a company of 30 pairs of jeans, to a globally diversified billion-dollar empire. Legal Battles
Overwhelmed by their increasing costs to produce, the Marciano brothers sought a solution to expand their capital and access cheaper foreign labor. In July 1983, they signed an agreement with the Nakash brothers of the company Jordache which would entitle the Nakash brothers to 50% ownership of Guess, Inc. in exchange for...