CEO of Dualstar Entertainment Group visits HBS

On October 15, Diane Reichenberger, the CEO of Dualstar Entertainment Group, visited the Harvard Business School to discuss the distinctive aspects of building and marketing celebrity brands. Dualstar Entertainment Group is an international corporate group that was founded in 1993 to leverage the universal appeal of Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen. The group is wholly-owned by the two brilliant actresses / designers / global fashion icons. Dualstar manages the billion-dollar, international “mary-kateandashley” brand, which encompasses not only its original focus of books, music CDs, videogames and fashion dolls, but also fashion apparel, beauty cosmetics, fragrances, and home décor. Its products are targeted towards girls and young women (aged five to twelve ‘tweens” and teens). Additionally, the brand has been expanded into the digital media with the launch of the e-commerce site,

Reichenberger joined Dualstar in 2005, shortly after Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen turned eighteen. She embodied all the qualities required to successfully rejuvenate and launch the “mary-kateandashley” brand: successful experience, passion, intelligence, and compassion. Prior to joining the company, she managed the women’s division of Joe Boxer, and held key management positions at the Gap, North Face, Levi Strauss, and Esprit.

During Reichenberger’s visit, HBS students soaked up insights on the Dualstar Entertainment Group and on the intricate nature of working with celebrity brands.

On Patience
According to Reichenberger, it takes approximately five to ten years to build a brand. Patience is paramount. The “mary-kateandashley” brand occupied tween space, which included furniture, makeup and apparel. It took three years of pounding on doors before the Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen successfully secured interest. It was Wal-Mart who was willing to accept the “mary-kateandashley” brand.

On Dualstar Consumer Products
Dualstar Consumer Products was established in 2000. This division holds the most significant financial position within the entertainment group. Approximately forty-six products were initially added to the Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen brand. Their clothing line, The Row, is a high-end couture clothing line that has been featured in Vogue USA (November 2006). The media line is equally successful. Today, the Ashley and Mary-Kate book series is the largest-selling book series after Harry Potter.

On the Global Nature of Branding
Globalization, whether or not one likes it, is inevitable. Since one cannot escape globalization, any successful businessman understands the importance of embracing and working with globalization. Today, the company has evolved into a global boutique company with offices in Culver City (in Los Angeles County) and New York. Dualstar Consumer Products have expanded to fifteen countries, including the UK, France, and Australia.

On Identity
In the past, Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen struggled to maintain their brand identity. With the help of Reichenberger, they expelled categories in their product line (e.g. toothpaste) that did not fit into the image they wished to present. They are both well-respected fashion icons in the celebrity world.

On Licensing
Most of the deals are one-year-deals. Surprisingly, it was not always easy to convince longer deals to be made due to the doubts that young women care about fashion. In fact, the opposite is clearly true. Today, young women are more fashion-conscious.

On Film Producing
Dualstar Entertainment Group produces DVDs. The company holds a ten million dollar distribution agreement with Warner Brothers Entertainment. Dualstar films include Getting There, The Favorite Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley, and When in Rome.

On Work-Life Balance
Understanding the importance of aligning personal goals with professional goals, Reichenberger invites a coach to Dualstar to provide monthly coaching sessions to its employees. In order to achieve the ideal HBS work-life balance, both personal and professional goals must be clear.

On Sensitivity
The Olsen twins are blessed to have Reichenberger as their CEO. She truly cares for the reputation and security and safety of the Olsen twins and their family. She also understands that she is working with a company where the average age is twenty-six years – an age where one thinks s/he knows everything about the world. This has only taught her to conduct business intuitively and to always present many options to the company.

On Celebrity
In the USA, celebrity is taking on a creepy addiction. According to Reichenberger, celebrity branding has swept the county. For example, Sheryl Crow will be launching her own denim line. Other examples of celebrities who have launched their own lines include Hilary Duff, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, and Shania Twain.

On Security
Celebrity branding is an extremely complicated business includes the following three elements: the legal, the PR, and the security elements. The Security Company within Dualstar deals with paparazzi-reporting, fan mail, threats, security of the stars, and security of the family of the stars.

On Doing Business With Celebrities
Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen wholly own Dualstar Entertainment Group, 50%-50%. According to Reichenberger tag heuer replica for sale , the Co-Presidents of Dualstar Entertainment Group hold integrity, intelligence and incredible business acumen. They developed their entrepreneurship skills because they were surrounded by entertainment moguls since the very young age of six years when that started acting on the television series, Full House. In 2007, Forbes collectively ranked the young Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen as the eleventh-richest women in entertainment, holding an estimated combined net worth of $100 million. Unlike many young celebrities, they are responsible and careful not to over-expose themselves. Together with Reichenberger, they are not afraid to turn down deals that seem only lucrative in the short-term and that hold neither integrity nor longevity.

Reichenberger holds an addictive attitude of resilience and passion for the company. She is intelligent, positive, and caring. Ashely Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen are smart business women not only due to their natural entrepreneurial skills but also due to the fact that they hired one of the outstanding female executives in the nation to be the CEO of their billion-dollar international company breitling superocean replica.

Reichenberger’s visit to the Harvard Business School was a distinguished speaker event sponsored by the HBS Entertainment and Media Club (EMC), the HBS Marketing Club, and the HBS Women’s Student Association.

October 22, 2007
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