Herschel Supply Co. — the buzzy backpack maker that’s expanded into fashion — is on the hunt for a buyer.
Numerous financial sources said J.P. Morgan has been out helping the company look for would-be suitors. The firm, founded by brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack in 2009, is said to be “asking for a very, very steep price” and has drawn more interest from private equity firms than strategic operators.
Herschel told WWD that it is “a rapidly growing company, and since Day One, we have had conversations with talented people who could work with us to continue to transform the lifestyle and travel industries. Since 2018, J.P. Morgan has been our day-to-day commercial bank and we continue to have an excellent relationship. We are excited about the momentum we’ve seen through the back to school season and the future growth of the Herschel Supply brand.” J.P. Morgan declined to comment.
Based in Vancouver, the company’s web site describes Herschel as “a design-driven global accessories brand that produces quality products with a fine regard for detail.”
The brand grew very quickly, gaining traction in the streetwear scene and its old-timey logo can often be seen ducking into New York subways.
In 2017, the company expanded beyond bags and accessories, adding men’s and women’s outerwear that played on the commuter theme established with its bags. The apparel offering has grown to include T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, pants and more.
Last year, Herschel opened its first North American store in Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood. And while the company already had 45 doors worldwide with third-party distributors, the shop was set up directly by the Cormacks.
“We are true believers that retail in general can teach the end consumer what we care about,” Lyndon Cormack said at the time. “It’s a true representation of where art meets architecture and design meets creativity. With all of the noise in the world, it’s a great time where brick-and-mortar retail can help start a conversation between your brand and the customer.”
Herschel expanded into China last year, setting up a Shanghai office after testing the waters with e-commerce through JD.com and Tmall.com.
“Growing up in North America, I assumed that Chinese consumers want everything from North America. But I’m so stoked to see what designers are doing in the market and it’s important for us to work with them,” Cormack said. “My definition of a global brand is not someone who sells something all over the globe, it’s one that is interconnected globally. That’s what we want to do as a brand.”
The corporate moves are in keeping with an approach that would make the company appealing to buyers, who would be looking to snap up a brand that is not only fast-growing, but one that comes with a roadmap for more growth down the line.
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