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Mansur Gavriel Exploring Sale of Minority Stake

The millennial accessories label is entertaining inbound offers from both strategic players and private equity firms, BoF has learned.
Mansur Gavriel Spring/Summer 2016 | Source: Mansur Gavriel
By
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — Mansur Gavriel, the brand behind the first post-recession It-bag, is exploring the sale of a minority stake to help fuel future growth, according to people familiar with the matter.

Founders Floriana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur, winners of the 2016 CFDA Award for Accessories Design, have hired William Sussman at New York-based advisory service Threadstone Capital to assist with a potential sale. According to one source, the brand was compelled to hire Sussman because of the overwhelming amount of inbound interest from investors, although none of these talks have advanced to something serious.

Since its first bucket bag — designed in minimalist neutrals, the linings slicked with bright colours — hit stores in early 2013, Mansur Gavriel’s range has expanded to include a full roster of handbag styles, as well as shoes and ready-to-wear, which has received good editorial reviews. Most recently, the brand, which operates two standalone stores in New York City and one in Los Angeles, launched men’s accessories.

The company, which currently employs 73 people, has kept its revenues numbers close, although sources say that it is likely on track to generate well into the eight figures this year and could earn a pre-money valuation of two-to-three times its current sales considering the keen interest from investors.

Gavriel and Mansur are meeting with strategic partners as well as private equity firms. If they do take investment, they would like to partner with someone who has an understanding of the luxury market. The money would help fund more directly owned retail stores, streamline back-end operations and international expansion.

While it has been difficult, perhaps, to match the public fervor generated by Mansur Gavriel’s first collection, the duo have managed to maintain an air of exclusivity around the brand by steering clear of discounting within their direct-retail channels, where they hold an end-of-season “sample” sale instead of offering continuous markdowns.

Positioned as the first luxury brand of the millennial generation, Mansur Gavriel's reasonably accessible prices for bags and shoes in particular — most bags are under $700; most shoes are under $500 — indicate that there is an opportunity to scale further. Gavriel and Mansur, who spent two years developing the minimalist, colour-driven line before going to market, are also insistent on keeping production in Italy.

Mansur Gavriel is just the latest in a series of coveted independent labels reportedly exploring financial partnerships. Both Acne Studios and Dries Van Noten are said to be entertaining sales, although those are far more mature and larger businesses.

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