It all started in 1988. Guns N' Roses,
Def Leppard and Bon Jovi were #1 on the charts, and hair
scrunchies, bolo ties and aviator sunglasses were
everywhere. A ton of junior accessory and apparel chain
stores filled shopping malls, but there wasn't a cool
accessory store for both guys and girls. Then came Hot
Topic. In the fall of 1989, Hot Topic opened its doors in
love to tell you it was a huge success, with hundreds of
teens clawing their way into the store, but
that is not the true story.
Sales were disappointing at first.
Some days they barely made a
hundred bucks. Was founder Orv Madden's vision doomed? It
was time to take a step back and re-evaluate. First,
their location in the mall wasn't
the best. How the heck could they
sell anything if nobody could find them?
Then they looked at what was
selling-costume jewelry. They
started buying more stuff like cross necklaces, unisex
earrings and leather bracelets and got rid of hair
scrunchies, men's ties and dress socks.
Hot Topic found a niche and its name
was music-influenced accessories. Whether it was fingerless
gloves like Billy Idol or glam metal bootstraps like Poison,
music was definitely the driving force behind teen fashion.
After their Westminster customers
gave them a reality check,
their bags, moved to Montclair, California and rocked
their mall with the first Hot Topic store to carry all
music-influenced accessories for teens.
Inc. operates two distinct specialty retail concepts:
Hot Topic's target customers are young
men and women between the ages of 12 and 22 who are
passionate about rock music, pop culture and music-inspired
fashion. Walk into a Hot Topic store and you'll immediately
feel the energy. The merchandise assortment, store
environment and staff all demonstrate a passion for music.
Torrid is a sexy fashion brand
targeting plus-size young women, ages 15 to 29. Torrid
focuses on providing this under-served customer with her own
fashion-forward alternative that features not only great
style, but also high quality, personalized customer service.
Inspired by an overwhelming number of requests from young,
plus-size, female shoppers, Torrid opened its doors in
Though Hot Topic and Torrid vary in
terms of their target customer and product assortment, the
culture within both concepts is built upon a deep and shared
commitment to understanding and serving the customer.
In 1996, with about 60 stores,
became a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ under the symbol HOTT. The
cash from their public offering allowed
them to open more stores across the country.