Windsong Brands LLC believes it can turn longtime accessories brand Carlos Falchi into a $250 million business.
This story first appeared in the May 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Windsong, the Westport, Conn.-based private equity firm, has teamed with Marvin Traub Associates to form Falchi Holdings LLC, which has acquired the 37-year-old Carlos Falchi brand worldwide and associated assets.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Windsong managing director Stuart Jamieson said Falchi’s sales volume for the signature collection is $10 million and the firm intends to grow revenues of the overall brand to $250 million in the next few years. Jamieson and William Sweedler, chairman and chief executive officer of Windsong Brands, will serve as co-chairmen of Falchi.
Windsong’s strategy for growth is threefold: improving operations with a new team of three yet-to-be-named executives, increasing distribution domestically and internationally and licensing ancillary categories such as footwear, jewelry and cold-weather goods.
Marvin Traub Associates will focus on growing the brand globally.
“While this is an exclusive brand, the demographic profile is so broad and the reach is so wide that its DNA is inclusive,” said Sweedler, adding that Falchi is a small brand among Windsong’s other investments, which include Ellen Tracy, Caribbean Joe, Joe’s Jeans and Field & Stream. “It is a wonderful little gem with an inordinate amount of consumers following him.”
Sweedler said he is intent on keeping the brand’s operations and production in Manhattan, although there has been talk of moving out of Falchi’s West 39th Street headquarters into a new building to include offices, the factory and showroom, along with a storefront.
“We look [at Falchi] as the American version of an atelier, with artisans and craftsman on site,” said Sweedler.
Falchi will act as chief designer and creative director, and will no longer be involved in operational activities. He will conduct more personal appearances and focus on merchandising. Falchi recently had a successful personal appearance at Bergdorf Goodman, in which the retailer curated a retrospective of his 37 years in handbags. The exhibit will travel to additional stores in the future.
There are plans to grow sales to $20 million to $30 million within the next few years. The signature line with exotic skins starts at about $1,000 and goes up to $40,000 for a large alligator satchel. The average sale is roughly $3,000. Leather bags range from $400 to $800.
There are also plans to extend into men’s accessories and leather jackets. The midprice line for HSN, Chi by Carlos Falchi, will continue.
“I’ve been wanting to have this kind of backing of people that understand branding and international business,” said Falchi. “It’s been a long career for me, and this gives me the ability to focus on brand building and design as opposed to day-to-day operations.”