MONTRÉAL, Canada – Byron and Dexter Peart, the twin co-founders of Want Les Essentiels, the luxury leather goods label, have exited the business after 15 years, selling their stake to business partners Mark and Jacqueline Wiltzer.
The Canadian brothers, whose travel accessories brand is stocked in around 100 locations including Nordstrom, Mr Porter and Selfridges, said they have decided to sell their stake in order to move on to “some really exciting work and projects that stays inside the lane of essential products,” Byron Peart told BoF. “After that long with everything changing around us, we thought it was a natural progression that had run its course. It’s a good thing, for the brand as much as for us. We started to realise what we wanted to do was a different process.”
It’s a good thing, for the brand as much as for us.
The terms of the sale were not made public. The deal includes the leather goods brand which sells $250 Ohare organic cotton totes and $995 Kastrup leather backpacks online and from a New York retail store, as well as Want Apothecary, the five luxury retail and beauty stores across Canada and New York. The sale also includes the Want agency, formerly the wholesale distribution showroom for contemporary brands including Acne Studios and Nudie Jeans, though the business is now mostly focused on the leather goods brand and retail spaces.
The brothers founded their business in 2002 with the Want Agency where they helped introduce of-the-moment brands to the North American market. That knowledge led them to build the in-house label Want Les Essentiels in 2007 that offered understated leather travel goods, successfully capitalising on the proliferation of portable technology devices like iPods, smartphones and laptops, and the increasing appetite for luxury items that were expensive-looking, yet discreet. That was followed by the launch of Want Apothecary in 2011, a retail space where brands including Comme des Garcons, Junya Watanabe and Jil Sander were stocked alongside beauty brands like Byredo.
A crowded product assortment and the closure of several tanneries that supplied their high-end leather, left the brand vulnerable and the pair questioning the longevity of the business in early 2009. But those difficulties were overcome thanks in part to a collaboration with J.Crew later that year after a chance meeting with Mickey Drexler, and the brand crossed over into profitability.
Dexter Peart says their intention was about a “strong point of view and reinventing modern luxury and the accessories space.” Going forward, the brothers say they wont confine themselves to just accessories, be it via a new product or a new brand. “At its core, Byron and I are really quite connected as brothers and twins and that’s been the journey of the last 20 years. We’re naturally creative and curious, travel has been really for us the main motivator… As people are travelling more we have a point of view and that’s probably where we will focus moving forward.”