"Oversaturation and overexposure" can kill a brand, said Tom Julian, director at The Doneger Group, a fashion retail and consulting company.
Popular brands can quickly fall from grace if their public exposure isn't strategically managed. Answering the "many entities that knock on the door" can be bad for business, Julian said, noting that designers may choose to wait five or more years before signing licensing deals, because it allows them to be strategic with market penetration.
Hardy said Audigier's widespread licensing aspired to make the brand more accessible to people at every price point. That strategy backfired, as the brand became what Bloch described as "very trailer park."
"They made it too unexclusive," he said. "No one wants to be in something that everyone has."
Both Bloch and Julian said the brand would have to wait several years before a successful comeback is tangible. Hardy noted that the master license was taken on by Iconix Brand Group in 2011, which also represents the London Fog brand and Madonna's Material Girl line. The group has plans to develop the label, which Hardy said is still popular in Asia and other countries.
Back to the drawing board
Though he completed his last tattoo in 2008, Hardy is still an active artist who splits his time between San Francisco and Honolulu and mentors artists of Tattoo City, now run by his son, Doug. This month, he'll travel to Beijing to show a 30-painting exhibition of his original artwork.
Although Hardy said he might have done things differently if given the chance, he also admitted that it was surreal to see his name and art become so well-known. With this memoir, Hardy aims to convince the public that despite the infamy of his eponymous brand, he is and has always been an artist.