What the Hell Happened?

Inside the collapse of the Mossimo empire

but when is "over" over? is it over when you sell your name? When you lay off 90 percent of your workers? Mossimo Inc., such as it is, still exists. The question, of course, is will it exist in February to collect that Target dough?

A lot of people don't think so. They figure the name has been so sullied by association with failure and bankruptcy and 50-cent stocks that it will never be a draw again. Of course, Target doesn't think that, and they seem to know what people want.

"Absolutely, he'll come through this," said Amy Smitts of Volcom. Smitts was Giannulli's personal assistant for seven years, starting out at the company as a receptionist. "Everybody's piling on right now, especially people who have always been really envious of him and would now just love to see him fail. I've talked to him, and he's got a good attitude; this isn't getting him down. Trust me—he'll do fine."

But just as certain are the dissenters, best represented by the industry analyst who matter-of-factly said, "Oh, he's done. You don't come through something like that and still have a name to sell what he wants it to sell. He can make a comeback, but it will have to be as something other than Mossimo. That's over. That's done."

Do you care?

"Moss could be leapfrogging everyone with this Target deal, and we don't even know it," Knapp said. "I wouldn't bet against the guy. But, either way, the consumer doesn't care, which is how it should be. Being an entrepreneur is not for the weak of heart. You put your neck on the line, and a bunch of people who don't have the guts to do that are just waiting to say, 'I told you so.' That's just the way things are. They love you when you're on top, and a year later, when you're like Leif Garrett on Behind the Music, they love to sit in their easy chairs and say, 'Ha, ha! Look at them. Pass the peanuts.'"

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