Remember Fragments, the jewelry workshop and showroom for cool, indie jewelry brands which opened in the mid 80s? Jewelry-loving New Yorkers and celebrities were regulars at the Soho store. Owner Janet Goldman marked the end of an era, when in 2015 she closed the Fragments boutique and wholesale business. While the industry missed Goldman’s keen eye for wholesale discovery and curation (everyone from Chan Luu to Alexis Bittar came up through the Fragments showroom ranks), Fragments never truly went away.
Under new ownership, flying low under the radar as a fashion jewelry, private label manufacturer, Fragments is ready for its second act. And even its third.
Accessories magazine caught up with fashion jewelry veteran Phil Frankenberg, the Fragments President and CEO for two years, to discuss Fragment’s new positioning, latest corporate acquisitions and licenses, and plans going forward.
We met in the company’s New York showroom on W. 39th Street, just one day after Fragments had closed on the deal to acquire fashion jewelry company AKA Mytique LLC. This deal fall on the heels of acquisition of private label jewelry company Vetta, plus the licensed division of fashion jewelry company Almar Sales, including French Connection, Laundry by Shelli Segal and The Sak brand licenses. The brands will be folded into the Fragments Licensed Brands Division, which already includes Rebecca Minkoff jewelry (Almar owner Jackie Ashkenazie is an investor in Fragments).
Fragments is actively shopping for more licenses as well as additional private label businesses. All of the companies will be folded under the Fragments umbrella and moved into their New York showroom.
“The Fragments name and logo was indelibly printed in me,” said Frankenberg. “I bought Fragments’ private label jewelry business in 2015 with a three phase strategy. One, scale up the private label business, two, create a licensed brand division, and ultimately phase 3 would be to relaunch the Fragments brand. Will it be a lifestyle brand? Maybe. We aim to have it become more powerful than it was in its first iteration.”
Frankenberg founded jewelry company Crimzon Rose with Felix Porcaro, and later moved on to Ballet Jewels. When Frankenberg bought Fragments, he brought in Norine Zwolenski from jewelry company Tanya Creations as partner and chief merchant, and the two opened a Rhode Island design studio. They divide their time between Rhode Island and New York, utilizing the design talent from both locations interchangeably. Frankenberg also brought in his COO from Crimzon Rose and Ballet, Rich Almeida, to lead the operations, production and finance teams.
Frankenberg recognizes that in today’s climate of redundancies, retail consolidation and fast-fashion trends that everyone jumps on at once, one way to gain market share is through acquisition–both at the brand level as well as through those brands’ respective retail distribution.
“With the industry in its current state, when we bought Fragments, we wanted to build the right platform to fold businesses into, not knowing just how fertile it would be,” said Frankenberg noting he is currently in discussions with additional companies. “We are already in conversations with companies that would be predominately jewelry, but we’ll be receptive to other accessory categories as well.”
Phase three, which won’t kick in until 2019, will involve reviving the Fragments brand as a fashion jewelry label, with options on the table to add additional classifications under the brand, including fine jewelry.