LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For 25 years, Hot Topic has been called “the Goth store” – the place in the mall for teens looking for rock tees, body jewelry, hair dye and black clothes with zippers, studs and skulls. It’s the store with the scary loud music and associates who are often tattooed and pierced. Hot Topic has even been rumored to be possessed. Now the destination for often-exclusive licensed music and pop culture apparel, accessories and collectibles, Hot Topic kicked off its 25th anniversary celebration in the most epic way: by going “Goth” online and in its 659 stores nationwide.
Throughout the weekend, Hot Topic store associates will be dressed in their Gothic best. Today and Friday Hottopic.com is going “Goth” – and is celebrating 25 years by offering 25% off purchases and $0.25 shipping on orders over $25.
“The ‘Goth thing’ is just one part of the Hot Topic story, but it’s one we’ve always loved. Which is why we’ve gone back to it to kick off the celebration,” said Lisa Harper, chief executive officer of Hot Topic, Inc. “Over the last 25 years we’ve also loved punk, metal, screamo, villains, superheroes, wizards, time travelers and misfits. Just like our customers we’re obsessed with all things music and pop culture – and we’re celebrating all of it. ”
A History of Firsts
Soon after Hot Topic founder Orv Madden opened the first store in 1989, Hot Topic became a destination for alternative music and fashion. That’s because Hot Topic wasn’t afraid of being the first to do a lot of things – like sell band tees and “rocker apparel” from TRIPP NYC and Lip Service, neither of which were previously available at the mall. Or hire associates with face piercings, visible tattoos and spectacularly colored hair who turned the alternative music up loud.
In 1992, Hot Topic stepped out again with a licensed Homey the Clown tee. That was the first of many pop culture licenses Hot Topic had before everyone else, including SpongeBob, South Park and Napoleon Dynamite. Today, Hot Topic stores are packed with fan-favorite and often exclusive pop culture licenses like Doctor Who, Minecraft, Sherlock, Harry Potter and Batman.
“Our customers are obsessed (their word) with the bands and pop culture licenses in our stores, and so are we. That’s how we discover what’s going to be next,” said Cindy Levitt, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing – and Hot Topic employee #1. “This mutual obsession – and our history of pretty much going our own way – are what have always made Hot Topic special.”
Celebrating the Less Ordinary
As a part of the 25th anniversary celebration, Hot Topic launched a dynamic and shareable historical timeline at Hottopic.com/History with offbeat, hilarious and sometimes inspiring stories. (It’s not a boring historical timeline – promise.) Among the stories:
- Before they blew your mind with music, a bunch of band members probably folded some tee shirts. Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance) worked at a Hot Topic in NJ. Other bands with former Hot Topic employees: Sleeping With Sirens, Motion City Soundtrack, Chiodos, A Skylit Drive, Atreyu, Memphis May Fire, For Today and Pvris.
- Over the years some people have really thought Hot Topic is “possessed.” There were rumors of bloodletting in our stock room and that our store managers were actual vampires. Some believed Hot Topic employees were required to have piercings. It was so bad we actually had angry people come in to our stores waving Bibles and leaving behind religious literature.
- In the Nov., 2008 South Park episode “Ungroundable,” Goth kids from South Park Elementary burn down the local Hot Topic. Why? Because everyone in town is confusing them with the growing new group of “vampire kids.” And Hot Topic turned those kids into vampires. (Thank you, Twilight.)
Throughout the 25th anniversary celebration Hot Topic wants fans and current and former associates to share their selfies and favorite Hot Topic stories and merch on Instagram, Twitter and Vine and tag #HT25 – it’s all aggregated at Hottopic.com/HT25. The campaign will also include:
- Weekly #TBT celebrations in-store and online with throwback promotions and “Goth” dress-up days – through Dec. 4.
- Starting on Dec. 1, 700+ customer and employee selfies will be featured in the windows of all Hot Topic stores nationwide.
- Select HT+1 customers may or may not receive a special gift throughout the celebration. (But we can’t tell you anything about that.)
About Hot Topic
Founded in 1989 in a Southern California guest house, Hot Topic was the first retailer to make alternative apparel and accessories available to individualistic teens at malls across the country. Today, Hot Topic offers music and pop culture junkies exclusive pop culture and band merch, collectibles, and fashion apparel and accessories. Hot Topic operates 659 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, and an online store at hottopic.com. Read up on Hot Topic’s offbeat history at Hottopic.com/History. Find Hot Topic on Twitter (twitter.com/hottopic), Facebook (facebook.com/hottopic), YouTube (youtube.com/hottopic) and Instagram (instagram.com/hottopic) – and see our fans at Hottopic.com/HT25.