Orv Madden and Hot Topic

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  • Published : May 23, 2013
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Colie Carlson
Economics
12-11-12

My paper is on Orv Madden and Hot Topic.

Orv Madden was born and raised in Alton, Iowa. He has spent his entire life working in the retail industry. Orv Madden earned the position as vice-president of the Children's Place stores. This experience prepared him for starting his own business. Madden was devoted to contemporary music and that helped him see a clientele that he could fill with his new store.

In the 80's when MTV was a big thing to the teenagers and young adults with playing modern music and culture, Madden saw that there could be a large market for music influenced apparel and accessories which was being largely overlooked by many national stores. He decided to see if he could capture this market.

In 1989 Hot Topic was founded. In a very risky move on his part Madden put all of their savings into starting the first store. This store sold t-shirts with logos of popular bands, music posters and trendy costume jewelry. The store is described as catering to the alternative culture and keeping up with the quick changing tastes of teenagers. The store broke even in the first year. In the next few years Madden raised over $11 million from investors wanting in on this market. With this money Madden started other stores throughout the country still following the “Gothic”- style lighting that shocked parent and delighted kids. Hot Topics target consumers are kids 12 to 22 years old. Their merchandise is t-shirts, pants, makeup, and jewelry meant to go anywhere but one's ear lobes.

Many people thought that Hot Topic would fail because it was based on the trends and tastes of punk or alternative teenagers which changed rapidly. Madden thought about this a lot. He bought a 45,000 foot warehouse for his distribution space and his management team. They employed dozens of buyers who were responsible for keeping up with music and teen fashion. The atmosphere at the headquarters was open and he kept...
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