(Filed Under wholesale Shapewear News). Yummie by Heather Thomson. Even though the former “Real Housewives of New York” star is no longer working at the company, her name is still on the brand — and will be for the forseable future according to this interview between the firms long time manager, Eric Rothfeld, and BODY publisher, Nick Monjo.
Almost a year ago, disputes between the company owners led to dueling lawsuits, and the exit, more recently, of several executives, including Thomson.
(Rothfeld, who is also chairman and CEO of REI Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm, was involved in the launch of Yummie in 2008. According to REI, prior to the founding of his firm in 2002, Rothfeld was “chairman and CEO of Sun Apparel, Inc. and its Polo Jeans Company division,” and when “Jones Apparel Group acquired Sun Apparel and all related companies, Eric served as a director of Jones and continued to serve as CEO/president of the Sun division through 2001.”)
NICK MONJO: I understand you are now running Yummie. Are you using a particular title at Yummie? Julie Hedrick is now the vice president of sales. Are there any other new management personnel?
ERIC ROTHFELD: I am the manager of Times Three Clothier, LLC dba Yummie by Heather Thomson, with exclusive and complete responsibility to manage and control the business and affairs of the company. My family entities and members are collectively the largest individual owner of the company. Julie Hedrick has been serving as VP of sales since mid April. There are no other new management personnel.
MONJO: I understand Heather Thomson Schindler, Jonathan Schindler [her husband] and Michelle Mooring Daray [partner] are no longer involved in the management of Yummie. Wendy Herman, former vp sales, is also no longer involved with the company, correct?
ROTHFELD: Jonathan Schindler never had any management role or any other role at the company. Other than that, all is correct except that Wendy Herman was president of the company. All three of them reported to me.
MONJO: Who are the people responsible for the design of Yummie products now and going forward?
ROTHFELD: Madelyn Ulrich-Buscemi is the senior designer reporting to Alicia Burns, director of merchandising and product development. Madelyn has been with the company more than three years and Alicia more than four years. They, along with their team of very talented, longstanding designers, continue to be responsible for developing the innovative merchandise that distinguishes Yummie in the marketplace.
MONJO: What is the current status of your legal and other dispute with the Schindler/Thomson/Daray contingent. I understand they own 51% of Yummie? You and REI 49%?
ROTHFELD: The Schindler/Daray contingent started this lawsuit in September 2015 seeking to remove me as manager. That motion and subsequent motions to remove me have all been denied. The company has filed claims against the Schindler/Daray contingent and Wendy Herman alleging fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and intentional breach of the Operating Agreement. While the three of them collectively do own 51%, the company’s Operating Agreement is specifically structured to vest complete authority in me as the manager. My authority as manager includes the following:
1. All decisions, consents, actions approvals and elections with respect to the company and its business;
2. I have the full, exclusive and complete discretion, power and authority, duty and responsibility to manage, control, administer and operate the business and affairs of the company;
3. I may act on behalf of the company without approval from the owners;
4. I have the authority to bind the company and no owner can take any action to bind the company without my consent.
MONJO: What is your prediction for the resolution to the current corporate structure of Yummie? Are you going to buy out the Schindler/Thomson/Daray contingent. Are they buying you out?
ROTHFELD: I am focused on running the company, working closely with a talented group of devoted associates. I am not interested in being bought out and have no interest in buying them out at this time.
MONJO: Have you all reached an agreement to continue as is with the 51%/49% ownership structure in place indefinitely into the future? Any additional comments?
ROTHFELD: The litigation as detailed above is still ongoing and ownership is not at issue in the litigation.
MONJO: Will there be any changes in the branding or name of the company going forward?
ROTHFELD: The Yummie branding will continue to evolve as we go forward. No name change is presently being contemplated.
MONJO: What is happening on the design and product side of the company? It seems that Yummie is putting more of an emphasis on apparel (jeans, rtw) as opposed to shapewear. Can you comment?
ROTHFELD: We will continue to be the most innovative shapewear company. We are bringing this same innovation to the daywear/intimate apparel areas as well as our recently launched loungewear line. These endeavors will be our primary focus going forward rather than jeans and rtw. — NM
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