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Just a few years after leaving Iran, Manny Mashouf opened a women's retail clothing store in San Francisco that was designed to fill the gap between the three categories of junior, bridge and misses. Bebe Store, Inc today operates over 300 stores around the world; the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada all have Bebe stores, as do Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, Singapore and more.
Mashouf decided to reference the famous Hamlet line To be, or not to be for the name of his company after a conversation at a party in San Francisco. After securing the name, the first Bebe store was opened in 1976. The following years brought on subsidiaries of the brand such as BebeSport, PH8 and 2b Bebe.
Bebe maintains a high profile, featuring designs from Project Runway runner-up Rami Kashou and enlisting celebrities such as Brenda Song, Rebecca Romijn, Eva Longoria and Mischa Barton as faces for the brand. Bebe also collaborated with advertising agency MD70 in 2009 to launch a spring campaign that appeared online, on New York City billboards and in renowned fashion magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Glamour.
Bebe ventured into the fragrance arena in 1996 with the To Be women's fragrance; in 2009 the company revamped their approach with their second release entitled Bebe for women, a fragrance with fruity and woody tones in a heart-shaped bottle.