[NEWS] Hot Topic Acquires Her Universe

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As you’ve undoubtedly already heard, Hot Topic has acquired Her Universe.  That definitely made plenty of us on Twitter go “Wait what?” and “Holy $#!)!” on Friday night.  We got a letter from Ashley and the official press release.  From the press release:

“We are very excited to partner with Ashley Eckstein and Her Universe,” said Steve Vranes, CEO of Hot Topic.  “We have worked closely with Ashley, Araca, and Her Universe over the past six years, together bringing fangirl fashion to a growing community of passionate fans. Ashley and Araca have built an incredible brand with a loyal customer base, and we look forward to supporting Her Universe in this new capacity.”

“I am thrilled to be bringing Her Universe to the Hot Topic family of brands,” said Ashley Eckstein, Founder of Her Universe. “Six years ago I founded Her Universe with the mission to create an empowering community and t-shirt brand for fangirls. We’ve since grown into a fashion, entertainment, publishing and lifestyle brand. Operating as a division of Hot Topic, Her Universe will continue to be a stand-alone brand selling to various retailers but with the support needed to grow the company in ways I have always dreamed.”

But what does this mean?  According to Ashley, the big things won’t change.  She’s still going to be running Her Universe and Her Universe designs will still be available at current retailers (ie: Kohl’s, ThinkGeek) and also via HerUniverse.com.  (Although the Her Universe site will be going down for a few days but will relaunch in time for the holidays.)  The biggest changes all sound like they’re going to be positive ones.  More plus sizes are going to be available and the partnership with Hot Topic will enable them to ship to Europe and also allow them to create designs for more licenses than they already do.  Her Universe will also begin doing designs for men.  (If you’re concerned about this, they won’t be doing men’s basics but rather men’s fashion.  In other words, they’re not going to be doing t-shirts for guys.  The focus will still remain on fangirls.)  The Fashion Show at SDCC will still be sticking around and Her Universe Press will be relaunching.

Essentially, it sounds like this will allow Ashley to focus more on the creative side of the business instead of the budgeting/monetary etc side too.

You can watch Ashley’s entire Q&A live video from Facebook below:

Essentially, I believe that this will end up being a good thing but it certainly will take some time to see how things work out.  I’ve seen some concerns on Twitter about quality and sizing and availability.  Availability sounds like it’ll remain the same and sizing has clearly been something that Ashley’s been working very hard to improve since Year 1.  As for quality?  Well, that all depends on your point of view.  I’ve always found there to be variance within the brand especially when you look at the cardigans.  (ie: I found the Grand Moff/X-Wing ones to be highly superior products to most of the other cardigans that have been released.)  That said, I think that looking at the quality of pieces like the Darth Vader leather jacket and this latest Marvel collection are all good signs.  And overall?  This is Ashley and Her Universe that we’re talking about here.  She’s always tried to do right by the fangirl community since day 1 and I don’t ever see that changing.

Congratulations to Ashley Eckstein on being able to do so much with Her Universe in just six years and I can’t wait to see what’s next for them as a part of Hot Topic.