Charli and Dixie D’Amelio gain greater control of their brand
(Bloomberg) — Charli and Dixie D’Amelio were suddenly thrust into the spotlight when they got big on the popular video app TikTok as two teens living their lives in suburban Connecticut. They’re still not quite sure how that happened.
“I just hopped on it one day and started posting,” Charli D’Amelio said in an interview on The Circuit With Emily Chang. “I do give 16-year-old me a pat on the back.”
The sisters have more than 200 million combined followers on ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok alone, with Charli as the No. 2 name on the entire platform. Both have signed their share of influencer contracts and endorsement deals to capitalize on their fame and gigantic Gen Z fanbase. The family, including the girls’ father, Marc, and mother, Heidi, talked about the next step of starting their own business that encompasses all of the D’Amelioverse.
“There were times where we would partner with certain companies and there was someone else’s creative direction,” Marc D’Amelio said. “Now we’re going to have more control over the products we make.”
D’Amelio Brands is backed by investors including Fanatics Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Rubin, Apple Inc. executive Eddy Cue and Lions Gate Entertainment head Jon Feltheimer. Earlier this month, it raised an additional $5 million from investment firm Fifth Growth Fund.
Their business line debuted with footwear, which launched in May. The D’Amelios brought on former Camuto Group executive Lauren DiCicco to head up design. Products include $119 faux fur slides, $189 platform boots and neon pink pumps that look straight out of Barbie Land. The family next wants to get into the food sector, planning to use the most recent financing round to fund a new line of yet-to-be-revealed snacks.
Endorsements remain a big part of the operation. The family estimates they have about 50 sponsorship deals, including arrangements with image editing app Lightricks Ltd. and Halo dog collars. Many are hybrid agreements that include equity in the companies they do business with, a practice that’s becoming more commonplace with celebrities.
For Charli, now 19, who might be one of the most well-known girls on the planet, the fame comes with its share of weirdness. She was only 16 when her TikTok account took off, and now she has fans crying when she says hello at a meet-and-greet.
“I don’t personally understand it,” Charli said. “It’s something very new. There’s no rule book for it. And how do you ever truly understand the impact that you can have on someone’s life, you know?”
More recently, they’ve all had to get used to more cameras in their faces. This year, Hulu aired the second season of the D’Amelio Show, which follows them around during their everyday lives.
“On TikTok, I don’t talk. Most people don’t know what my voice sounds like,” said Charli. “When you have a show that’s documenting your life, you want to tell your story.”
This episode of The Circuit With Emily Chang premieres Thursday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. in New York on the Bloomberg app and Bloomberg.com and on Bloomberg Television at 10 p.m. Check out The Circuit podcast for extended conversations.
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