The Glitter Plan

Juicy Couture brand history collage
Oceanside in luxe terry cloth track suits and smelling like couture. Candy colored ads like these became synonymous with the brand. 

Once upon a time, in a far-away land called Los Angeles, there were two girls that dreamed of fashion in the sweetest of colors. It was fashion that felt luxurious, fit like a dream and delightfully came in every color of the rainbow. 

It was Juicy Couture. 
Juicy Couture brand history collage
Dreamy ad campaigns that included oversized perfume bottles, pastel pups and stylish grannies were captured by photographer Tim Walker. 

For designers Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, they didn’t need a business plan. They needed a glitter plan. As they created a world full of terry cloth tracksuits, California style and casual luxury, they didn’t follow the rules. Instead, they embraced a “specifically female, punk-rock style of entrepreneurship.” And in the process, they reshaped the fashion landscape and created a global brand. 

Their story is told in the book, The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned it into a Global Brand in a tone that is funny, approachable and authentic. The book gives insight into the evolution of their entrepreneurial journey from maternity wear, to t-shirts, to the famous track suit, to a global empire. 

Juicy Couture and Marie Antoinette
The brand often played with historical references to famous figures like Marie Antoinette. Sky high hair, luxurious fabrics and decadent details made the way for modern-day Marie Antoinette style. Painting: Marie Antoinette in Court Dress by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, 1778 (via Wikimedia Commons).

What started as a desire to create the best fitting and most luxurious of t-shirts, planted a seed for a brand that would forever change how women dress. Pam and Gela describe their journey into casual luxury and athleisure before the terms even existed in the early 2000s. Following their instincts to create clothing they would want to wear, the designers embraced the power of terry cloth to create the now famous tracksuit. 

With celebrity culture in full swing and women like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears donning their brightly hued tracksuits on the streets of Beverly Hills, it wasn’t long before women across America flocked to the mall to get their own Juicy Couture. 
Juicy Couture brand history collage
Pastel colored confections came to life in the 2006 ad campaign by Tim Walker. The campaign called to mind the dreamy colors of sun-washed Beverly Hills, rainbows, glitter, and a gathering of gal pals like Empress Eugenie Surrounded by Her Ladies, painted by Franz Xavier Winterhalter in 1855 (via Wikipedia). 

The book details the rise of the brand, its expansion into new fashion categories, how they built a team at their “Glitter Factory,” their approach to marketing and PR and how they made their millions with the sale of the company to Liz Claiborne. It also sheds light on the hardships they faced as entrepreneurs, the growing pains of a business expansion, as well as the difficulties experienced after the sale Juicy Couture. Following each chapter, the book lays out helpful information for future and current entrepreneurs with tips, key vocabulary and insight into building a company.  

Though Juicy Couture has had more recent struggles with the changes in ownership, the product line, quality and branding, the fairy tale appeal of this brand remains strong. Two girls who kept friendship, fun and fashion at the core of what they did each day, offer insight into the power of what is possible. Though obstacles were present and the learning curve was steep, Pam and Gela made their dreams a reality and let each of us into their cotton-candy colored world one tracksuit at a time.