LONDON — Are showrooms becoming the new strategic investors?
Tomorrow, which was born as a showroom and has evolved into a full-service business partner for young and emerging brands, has invested in a like-minded company, the New York- and Los Angeles-based Goods and Services.
An announcement is expected today.
Goods and Services specializes in ready-to-wear and accessories brands, and Tomorrow said the aim of the partnership is to collaborate, codevelop services, and capitalize on each organization’s regional strengths. The move will also help Tomorrow build market share worldwide.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Joey Laurenti, who founded Goods and Services in 2012, will become chairman following the Tomorrow investment, while the current executive team, led by Andrea Tocco and Emily Silverstein as co-senior vice presidents, will continue to manage and operate the day-to-day business.
Tomorrow is in an acquisitive mood: Earlier this month, the company brought in Julie Gilhart as chief development officer for the Tomorrow Group, and named her president of Tomorrow Consulting. As part of the deal, Gilhart’s eponymous company will become part of Tomorrow Consulting.
Goods and Services works with emerging and established designers and brands, and specializes in sales management and brand strategy.
Tomorrow said the partnership furthers its vision to “champion and foster entrepreneurial creativity” and will increase the breadth of brands that the group can support.
Tomorrow started as a showroom in 2008, and has evolved into a full-service platform for brands, with the four-pronged aim of advising, making, selling and investing.
It employs more than 150 people, and has offices and showrooms in London, Milan, Hong Kong, Paris and New York. Of late, it has invested in an atelier that serves its own brands and partners.
Tomorrow’s showrooms sell and distribute for brands including Colville, Ambush, Ader Error, Jeija, Stella Jean, White Mountaineering, Marni, Sies Marjan and Markus Lupfer.
In addition to sales and distribution services, it can also take care of operations and logistics, and licensing and manufacturing. It offers commercial, creative, product development advice and also does marketing and communications.
Tomorrow has begun to take stakes in young and emerging brands: It has invested in London-based streetwear brand A-Cold-Wall and its sister label Polythene Optics. It also relaunched Coperni, the ANDAM-winning collection designed by Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant.
So far, Tomorrow has offered funding that falls between seed capital and 3 million pounds, although it is eyeing larger investments in the range of 10 million pounds to 15 million pounds.
There are more investments in the pipeline, including another fashion brand, and a from-scratch sneaker project. Tomorrow believes it can take on — and incubate — up to 10 brands.
The company has spotted a potentially large market opportunity: Unlike many private individuals or private equity firms who put their money behind emerging fashion labels, Tomorrow knows the mechanics of the business and is under no pressure to exit in the short- to medium-term.
And unilke some big trade investors, Tomorrow also has the patience to help small brands grow, and to work with a variety of business models.
Laurenti said his company has been working with Tomorrow for seven years to manage and support a number of brands.
“Through this collaboration, we recognized many similarities between our businesses, which led us to explore the opportunity to combine resources,” he said.
“Our international alliance will help us to accelerate the growth of both Tomorrow and Goods and Services even further in the fashion space.”
Based in New York and Los Angeles, the group has a team of 20 supporting 15 brands. The team oversees sales strategy, brand merchandising and links with the retailers. Like Tomorrow, it also offers tailor-made services to help designers grow their brands on a long-term, global scale.
Among the designers and brands it represents are Self-Portrait, Nanushka, Jordache and Rebecca Vallance.
Stefano Martinetto, chief executive officer and cofounder of Tomorrow, said the two companies have a “shared working philosophy, which is very important to me and the Tomorrow team.”
The companies’ focus, he added, is on “exciting entrepreneurial brands,” and their goal is to help them to grow. “Goods and Services’ expertise in this is invaluable, and this partnership strengthens Tomorrow’s ability to offer brands that network of support,” Martinetto said.