Private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners has named Paula Sutter as chief executive officer of TSG Fashion.
This story first appeared in the October 27, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Sutter will work closely with Hadley Mullin, senior managing director, and Jennifer Baxter Moser, managing director, to build TSG’s fashion platform.
Moser said, “Bringing Paula onboard strengthens [TSG and helps us be a] more effective partner with our existing companies.”
She explained that the position was created because “TSG has become increasingly active in the fashion sector, and we’re focused on continuing our presence in the industry. Our approach is to be a hands-on value-added partner with the companies that we invest in.”
Sutter was president of Diane von Furstenberg Studio LLC from 1999 through 2013, and while there played an instrumental role in the re-branding and growth of the business. Sutter evolved DVF, known primarily for its signature wrap dress in its Seventies heyday, into a global lifestyle brand with freestanding stores and wholesale accounts in department and specialty stores worldwide. The brand was positioned in the contemporary space and, in addition to apparel, has offerings in accessories, home goods and a signature fragrance, Diane.
TSG’s fashion portfolio includes jewelry design house Alexis Bittar, denim firm Paige and online contemporary retailer Revolve.
“For me, this is a great way to use my 20-plus years of experience in brand building,” Sutter said. She explained that she’ll now get insights on “how an investor invests and builds brands. I now get to see another side — the art of the sale and the art of development from the investment side.”
In addition to advising brands in TSG’s existing portfolio, she’ll use her expertise in brand positioning to identify investment opportunities for TSG.
“We’re looking at interesting, dynamic brands. We’re not solely focused on any particular segment. We’re looking at brands where we can add value,” Sutter said.
Moser elaborated further: “We’re looking for brands with a distinctive point of view and a point of differentiation that’s very entrepreneurial. We can now provide the guidance of someone who has been in the industry for awhile and who understands the tactics to help them grow. The teams [we invest in] like that perspective, which is complementary to their existing skill set.”
Before joining DVF, Sutter ran her own consulting business, PSI Consulting, and before that was vice president of DKNY’s domestic women’s division.