Melissa Payner, who served as Bluefly’s ceo from 2004 to 2012, has rejoined the firm as chief merchandising officer and takes over supervision of the merchandising team from Scott Erdman, who now heads Bluefly’s marketplace.
Jeffrey Sherman, president of The Echo Design Group, has been named a senior adviser to Bluefly’s board. Sherman is the former president and ceo of Hudson’s Bay Co. and former president of Bloomingdale’s. Neel Grover, ceo of Bluefly, said, “He has a wealth of industry knowledge and having him guide us in certain situations is a great benefit to the business going forward.”
Grover also lauded CrunchFund’s investments to date in Web companies and said the firm decided to get involved in Bluefly because it is enthusiastic about the efforts that have been made since Clearlake’s acquisition. He elaborated that losses at Bluefly have been “cut down more than 50 percent, while we have continued to grow our gross profit and increase the business overall.”
Grover noted that Bluefly intends to expand the marketplace business substantially.
Even before Payner returned to the company, Grover solicited her thoughts on Bluefly. “Over the last several months, we had discussions about the business, and I could tell that she still had a passion for the business, and she seemed excited about what we are doing,” he said. “Her experience and knowledge are going to be a help for us and the fact that she had run the business for so many years is a bonus.”
Payner said, “I’m focusing on bringing the right brands to the consumer, and I’m excited to be able to reintroduce Bluefly to some brands and to continue to develop the business as it relates to the customer experience,” she said.
CrunchFund’s investment will be reflected in Bluefly’s board with the addition of CrunchFund cofounder Patrick Gallagher as a director. “We join in our partners’ enthusiasm in backing the team to build a differentiated leader in the fashion e-commerce sector,” he commented. “Bluefly’s strong foundation and history, coupled with an attractive industry backdrop driven by evolving consumer buying habits and well-curated, convenient online offerings, make this a very exciting time for the company.”
In addition to Bluefly, Clearlake has investments in Swiss Watch International and Buy.com. Grover, former ceo of Buy.com, was named chairman and ceo of Bluefly in August after serving for a year as an executive operating partner at Clearlake. Greg Giraudi, an operating adviser to Clearlake and former chief operating officer of Buy.com, is Bluefly’s president.
Sherman said Bluefly “has always been an innovator in online retail, and I share in Clearlake’s vision of building it into the leading online fashion retailer by providing a unique assortment of high-end fashion at great prices to its loyal customer base.”
CrunchFund’s investments include stakes in Uber, Square, Airbnb and Redfin.
Clearlake currently has about $1.4 billion in equity capital under management.
Founded in 1998, Bluefly was a pioneer among online fashion retailers and in 2011 expanded with the launch of Belle & Clive, a members-only flash-sale site. Despite cash infusions from George Soros and others, the company never found a path to profitability during its days as a public company, racking up losses of $56.1 million in the five years through 2012, when its revenues declined 29 percent to $93.4 million.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion