Sharper Image who made a fortune selling gadgets for smart houses and then lost it all when they went belly up last year in the USA is back and they are looking for either a distributor or retailers in Australia to sell their new range of products that were launched at this year’s CES show in Las Vegas.
The private investors who purchased the brand name when “The Sharper Image” filed for Bankruptcy Protection in February of 2008 believe that the name and the products branded with the name “have enormous potential in Australia” according to a Company spokesperson at this year’s CES where they introduced a new range of iPod attach devices, Internet Radio’s and what they describe as “health care” products.
Rather than operate its own web site, catalogue business or shops the Company wants to cut deals with distributors or retailers to whom they will license their products and brand name.
The new Company has struck deals with HoMedics, a manufacturer of health and grooming products, luggage maker EnE and others to produce new products.
The name The Smarter Image was purchased by private investment Company Blue Star Alliance, Gordon Brothers and Hilco Consumer Capital for $74 million in May.
Since then, the company has reconstituted itself (minus the stores) to become a “global lifestyle brand licensor.”
“We are keen to do business in Australia we have the brand name and the products that we believe will appeal to Australians. We will be expanding outside of the consumer electronics area so we could well end up with two or three different distributors in different markets” A Sharper Image spokesperson said at the CES Show.
In the past the Company has flogged ionic air cleaners and fogless shaving mirrors as well as battery powered toys and massage chairs.
“Sharper Image was an aspirational brand,” said Federico de Bellegarde, the company’s vice president for licensing. While people wanted the products, not enough could afford them. “Now we can be in consumer electronic stores and Bath & Bedroom stores as well as department stores,” Mr. de Bellegarde said.
The new company, which has fewer than 10 employees, kept five of its original product licensees. It currently has the Sharper Image name on 40 furniture and accessory products. Stores Its big push will come at the end of this year, when it releases “hundreds” of new, less-expensive products in partnership with 12 unnamed partners.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, the company showed a range of new products including home audio gadgets like iPod and iPhone docks, a floating waterproof wireless speaker, and a shower speaker that receives music wirelessly from an iPod. The products ranged from $120 to $300.
The iPhone dock, which includes a motor to swivel the phone horizontally when watching videos, will sell for about $120, while the floating speaker will cost about $110.
The company is also working on a new generation of its famous air purifier which ended up being slammed by consumer affairs departments in the USA.