Ed Hardy Enters Helmet Market

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A Los Angeles-based company named Nervous Helmets is the latest product supplier to jump on the Ed Hardy brand bandwagon by offering helmets touting likenesses of the famed tattoo artist's works. The colorful lids join – take a breath – Ed Hardy apparel, Ed Hardy baseball caps, Ed Hardy Energy Drink, Ed Hardy Cologne and perfume, Ed Hardy air freshener, Ed Hardy watches, Ed Hardy Swimwear, Ed Hardy Eyewear, Ed Hardy intimates, Ed Hardy Vodka, Ed Hardy bags and purses, and Ed Hardy belts and shoes.

Ed Hardy-branded baseball caps retail for between $60 and $150, canvas sneakers go for about $80, and T-shirts sell for between $60 and $200. The recently introduced Ed Hardy helmets are wholesale priced from $68 to $98.

Designed for scooter, cruiser, off-road and sport riders, the Ed Hardy helmet product line consists of three half-shell Rider models, five three-quarter-coverage Scooter models, two unvisored Classic Open Face models, two visored Open Face models, two chin-bar equipped Off-Road models and one Full Face model. Some are DOT-approved and some are DOT- and ECE-approved. The two Open Face models carry no approval rating.

Hardy Life LLC is the owner of all trademarks and copyrights associated with the "Ed Hardy" brand. Famed tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy and clothing supplier Ku USA Inc. formed Hardy Life LLC in 2004. That same year Christian Audigier licensed the rights to produce the Ed Hardy clothing line based on Hardy's imagery. Prior to the Ed Hardy clothing line, Audigier was the head designer at Von Dutch Originals, which marketed the imagery of artist Von Dutch.

Borrowing a tactic from his former employer, Audigier began marketing the "Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier" product directly to celebrity clients while also opening stores in more than a dozen high-profile fashion districts such as Miami, Los Angeles, Tucson, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Dubai and New Dehli.

Nervous Helmets CEO David Dray is one of 19 licensees of the Ed Hardy brand. While short on motorcycle industry experience, Dray hopes to use his past in advertising and the fashion industry to promote his company's product. As an advertising executive in Paris, Dray handled Fortune 500 accounts for Ogilvy and Mather, Young and Rubicam and others. He moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to participate in Christian Audigier's expansion of Von Dutch Originals.

Dray said his helmets meet or exceed department of transportation safety standards – as labeled – and are fully backed by product liability insurance. "Ed Hardy Helmets & Accessories safety tests all products at the point of production and again at various independent testing sites in the United States," Dray said. "We adhere to the corporate principle of safety first, quality control at the manufacturing site, advanced technology, innovative thinking and carefully listening to our customers when creating products." — Guido Ebert