TORONTO, Canada — Dani Reiss had no intention of running a billion-dollar clothing empire when he joined his dad’s shop making winter parkas 20 years ago. He was an English literature graduate from the University of Toronto, looking for a few bucks to finance his travel plans.
“The last thing I ever thought I would do was work for my parents in the family business,” Reiss said in an interview last year. “I wanted to be a short-story writer; I wanted to write fiction.”
Reiss skipped the writing in the end, sticking around to transform Canada Goose Holdings Inc. into one of the most valuable luxury brands in the world, selling $900 down coats to everyone from park rangers to Drake. His overhaul of the 60-year-old company started by his grandfather paid dividends this week with an initial public offering. After a single day of trading, the business has a market value of about C$2.29 billion ($1.72 billion).
Reiss, 43, took home almost C$70 million from the deal, selling 4.1 million shares at C$17 each. He maintains a 24 percent stake in the company, worth another C$557 million after the stock surged 27 percent to C$21.53 on the first day of trading in Toronto. His partners at Bain Capital, the private equity firm, still hold a 57 percent stake after pocketing C$123 million from selling shares, based on figures in the IPO documents. Bain’s stake after the IPO is worth about C$1.3 billion.
To get a sense of how much the company has grown under Reiss and Bain, consider that the company was valued at just $250 million when Bain bought a 70 percent stake in 2013, people familiar with the matter have said. Terms weren’t disclosed at the time.
Reiss, who rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Thursday before flying back to close the market in Toronto, says he has no plans to slow down after going public.
After posting annual sales growth of 38 percent over the past three years, Reiss is now scanning the globe for additional opportunities to expand. With two-thirds of Canada Goose’s nearly C$400 million in sales coming from Canada and the US, the company needs to extend to Europe and Asia, Reiss said.
“We definitely believe that we can continue to grow,’’ Reiss said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Canada from his Toronto head office. Employees there toasted the IPO with wine, as white balloons with GOOS — the ticker symbol — hovered over work stations.
The high-end clothing company, which opened its first two retail outlets in New York and Toronto last year, is targeting three more in 2018. The long-term goal is 15 to 20 stores, according to the IPO prospectus.
“We’re going to open stores in the best and biggest and most vibrant cities in the world,’’ he said, citing Tokyo and Paris as examples. “As we build the direct-to-consumers channel, as we lead with e-commerce, it’s also important to have some stores’’ as gathering places where consumers can learn about the brand.
The company has “a lot of runway’’ in Europe, he said. “Asia is a very strong market and China is a huge wide-space opportunity for us that we’re really, really excited about.’’
Since so much of the brand is tied to Canada’s north, Reiss has no plans to shift production to the US, even as US President Donald Trump considers a border tax to encourage more manufacturing there.
“We make our core products in Canada and we’re very focused on continuing to do that,” Reiss said. “We have a great trade relationship with the US and I think we’re very well positioned to deal with whatever happens politically.”
Meanwhile, he said he’s working to make sure he avoids the third-generation jinx that has doomed so many companies. Reiss took over from his father David Reiss and grandfather Sam Tick, who got it all started in a small Toronto warehouse in 1957.
“It’s the pre-planned handover that doesn’t work,” Reiss said in an interview last year with Bloomberg TV Canada. For Reiss, the aspiring short-story writer, his rise to the top at Canada Goose wasn’t preordained.
“It wasn’t pre-meditated,” Reiss said. “It wasn’t what was always supposed to happen.”
By David Scanlan, with assistance from Sandrine Rastello; editors: Elizabeth Fournier, Elizabeth Wollman, Kevin Orland.