Rebranding at Bella Dahl Includes Reimagining Denim
Over the past eight years, Bella Dahl became a source for women’s apparel that embraced the Southern California lifestyle of trendy pieces that are comfortable to wear.
As a local company owned by Kerry Jolna, who employs a staff of 120, Bella Dahl’s presence in Los Angeles includes its 65,000-square-foot downtown corporate headquarters on Broadway, which houses its executive offices, warehouse space and sewing room devoted to sample production, which is performed by eight sewers. It has a small showroom blocks away in the Cooper Design Space. The brand’s commitment to Southern California has been apparent through its production practices, as 90 percent of its manufacturing is done in Los Angeles.
In April, for its Summer 2018 campaign, Bella Dahl will launch its rebranded look, which includes a new logo, garment labels and hangtags to present a “sleeker” and “elevated” brand identity, according to Jennifer Vathanadireg, director of marketing.
“We’re now traveling around the world, working with influencers season to season,” she revealed. “Our pieces are very travel friendly.”
As she discussed the shift, Vathanadireg explained Bella Dahl’s efforts to retain its loyal clientele of women in their 30s to 60s while reaching out to a younger demographic. There exists no perfect formula for rebranding, but at Bella Dahl, this shift was more about expanding to include more women, not excluding the customers who have been loyal to the line since 2010.
“I’ve been at many brands where we tried to shift completely, but you can’t lose your loyal customers because they’re the ones who are actually purchasing,” said Vathanadireg. “We wanted to do it in a way where we can still hang on to those customers but reach that younger person.”
This tactic worked in the brand’s favor, as younger consumers brought traffic to the website, but they might not be inclined to spend a lot yet, as retail price points are a bit high for this age group, whose clothing budget isn’t as large as the traditional Bella Dahl customer.
“We’ve been successful,” Vathanadireg said. “We’ve been seeing the younger demographic coming to the site; we’re not sure if they’re necessarily ready to buy yet.”
To reach a new customer, while maintaining its client base, Bella Dahl invested in new styles that adhered to the company’s core principles of stylish Southern California comfort combined with a commitment to sustainability.
Manufactured with the company’s trademarked Tencera fabric—a type of Tencel that comprises 70 percent of Bella Dahl’s business—the brand’s denim provides a traditional appearance with a soft touch.
Within its Fall 2018 denim offerings, customers will find jackets, jumpsuits, overalls, shirts and pants, which are available in traditional or alternative lengths. Derived from sustainably sourced wood pulp, the final Tencera product comprises cellulose fibers that produce a type of rayon finished with a recyclable, nontoxic solvent. The finished product is biodegradable and offers the look of denim with a smooth feel in a material that can be easily washed and dried and is wrinkle resistant.
As Bella Dahl’s rebranding campaign draws near, the company also prepared to bring a fresh denim wash to the market with pieces wholesaling from $68 to $110. With its blackdigo, the company took its denim shirts, pants, jackets and jumpsuits into a deep, dark hue that it’s never had before.
“We’re like a denim company,” said Steven Millman, vice president of sales. “Kerry [Jolna] and I came from jeans, but we don’t make jeans, but we are in the denim business. I think we’ve disrupted the denim business, changing it where things are becoming important other than five pockets.”
While this wash expands Bella Dahl’s offerings by bringing a darker denim product to the brand, the resulting material is neither as hardwearing, nor hard to wash, as traditional jeans. With many dark denims, consumers are forced to adhere to special washing instructions, before and after the first wear, but Millman says the new blackdigo pieces solve that problem.
“It is the darkest indigo yarn you could use,” he said. “It’s the deepest dip. Because it’s those Tencera yarns, it gives it the ability to get gorgeous washes and maintain itself so it’s not going to rub off everywhere. It’s not bleeding. It’s the easiest care you could imagine.”
The decision to introduce blackdigo wasn’t rushed because the Bella Dahl team wants its clients to enjoy wearing its pieces as much as it loves creating them. This meant developing blackdigo over a span of three years, during which time the fabric and dye was tested until it was the product that they had envisioned.
“We love the wash. It just took us time to get it,” said Millman. “The more we’ve used it—the more we’ve tested it—we’re officially ready to really come out with it, which is exciting. Now, we have a new denim. It’s like a sleeper.”
In addition to www.belladahl.com, the collection has been sold through department stores—including Revolve.com, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s—and independent bricks-and-mortar retailers.