Monday, Feb. 09, 2004

The Olsen Sisters

The Queens Of All Things Teen

They may have worn Fendi and Versace to their sophomore prom, but in the tween and teen fashion lines they sell through about 2,900 Wal-Mart stores nationwide (and 5,300 stores globally), the hard-driving Olsen twins take it down a couple of notches. "It's not a high-end thing," explains Robert Thorne, CEO of Dualstar Entertainment Group, parent company of all Mary-Kate and Ashley items. "We want to be available to everyone, not just the beautiful people."

It's a strategy that has paid off: the mary-kateandashley brand is the fastest-growing fashion line for tweens (ages 6 to 12) and teens in the U.S., racking up at least $400 million in sales at Wal-Mart last year. With low-priced apparel flying off the shelves in select stores in Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and France, and a billion-dollar empire that includes apparel, accessories, fashion dolls, videos and DVDs, the Olsens are among the most powerful women in fashion. Their personal fortunes are estimated at $150 million each — and they don't turn 18 until June.