Her Universe, the geek apparel and accessory company founded by Ashley Eckstein, has been acquired by Hot Topic, the company announced late Friday. The acquisition will help expand Her Universe into new countries and new avenues, while running much of the company in a "business as usual" manner.
Eckstein will remain involved with the company, under the official title of Founder, and will continue to oversee their production. The actress created Her Universe after she was cast in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the voice of Ahsoka Tano, the breakout character from the series. When she went looking for Star Wars t-shirts for herself to wear in celebration, she found the selection lacking. After a meeting with George Lucas himself, she was granted a license for Star Wars clothing, and worked with female designers to create clothes for women by women in the geek sector. Her Universe was a nearly instant success, adding new licenses over the years like Star Trek, Syfy Channel, Marvel Comics and many more. The expansion has included special items only for holidays, appearances by Eckstein across the country (and the world), and expansion into publishing with Her Universe Press.
Her Universe will not be limited to Hot Topic stores after the acquisition - it's still a stand-alone brand, just under the ownership umbrella of Hot Topic. That means you'll still find clothing from Her Universe at Torrid, BoxLunch, Disney Parks, and ThinkGeek, as well as HerUniverse.com, and thanks to Hot Topic's international distribution that's already set, you'll soon be able to buy Her Universe products in Europe. The expanded infrastructure will also allow for more plus size products, and for Her Universe to offer some all-new fashions for men, something they're adding simply because boys and men keep asking her for it (personally, really hoping for that Dave Filoni designed Ahsoka walking into the temple t-shirt in men's sizes. Hint hint, Ash). Her Universe Press will be relaunched as well, presumably with some book distribution directly in Hot Topic stores. Hot Topic's heavy involvement with other brands means Her Universe will soon be able to access more licenses - which could include DC Comics, who Hot Topic works closely with. Eckstein voices a character on DC Super Hero Girls and has an existing relationship with the brand, as well. The annual SDCC fashion show will also continue, she assured fans.
"Her Universe started six years ago, against the odds, as a t-shirt brand for Fangirls," Eckstein wrote in a press release. "We all know that Fangirls were being ignored and underserved, but we had to debunk the stereotype that this genre was just for men and boys. I said from day one: 'united we stand, divided we fall. if we want change, we need to demand it together and I cannot build this company alone.'"
Eckstein thanked her fans and supporters for their "incredible" backing of the company and the way they grew "a t-shirt brand into a fashion, entertainment, and publishing lifestyle brand in just a few years."
The actress and founder warned that some of the changes, specifically new licenses and designs, might not be fully seen until next spring or summer in a facebook Q&A. Star Wars activewear was amongst the announcements planned in the chat.
"I've got some big plans," Eckstein said. "There's going to be no shortage of amazing stuff coming, I'm super excited."
Find more about Her Universe and their new plans on HerUniverse.com.