The investment will support Ron Dorff’s growth strategy and further expansion into the U.S. market, following encouraging sales, notably online in 2020 despite COVID-19 disruptions.
Rupert West, managing director of Puma Private Equity, said, “Ron Dorff is a very exciting brand with ambitious growth plans, and we are delighted to help them enter the next phase of their success. Whilst 2020 has been an extremely challenging year, Puma Private Equity has remained an active investor as we continue to uncover fantastic innovation and potential amongst U.K. SMEs.”
Claus Lindorff, founder and chief executive officer of Ron Dorff, added that the investment “will allow us to continue to share our passion for what we do best — providing customers with the leading premium bodywear product in the market — whilst enabling our geographic expansion over the coming years.”
Lindorff said the U.S. is now Ron Dorff’s biggest market, representing 35 percent of online sales, and New York City alone represents 13 percent of its global sales.
“We have never done any major advertising in the state. There is some kind of traction, and that traction doesn’t go on forever. I think now it’s time to really do something about it, and we also want to improve our service online,” he added.
He believes that being one of the first brands to partner with Equinox online store and being seen at strategic resort destinations such St. Barth, Mykonos, and soon Ibiza, where affluent Americans go on holidays have helped Ron Dorff to raise brand awareness.
With investment from Puma Private Equity, the brand aims to open its first U.S. store on Bleecker Street in New York this coming September, with a dedicated area to handle returns. As of now, all orders are being shipped from Paris. Then the brand plans to open one more store in Los Angeles.
“I love the street. It’s something of a neighborhood store,” he said. “We don’t want to be at Madison Avenue, at some skyscraper uptown next to a gym. I think it’s very important to have a local feeling to it. It gives you that typical New Yorker feel.”
Founded in 2012 with an online store, and opening a physical store in Paris in 2013, Ron Dorff said it combines Swedish functionality with French style, and offers premium sportswear, homeware, underwear and swimwear for both men and women, with prices ranging from $475 for a cashmere sweatshirt to $42 for boxer briefs from its essential collection.
The brand opened stores in London in 2016 and Berlin in 2019. It now has a network of more than 70 wholesale partners globally, while its e-commerce ships to 80-plus countries worldwide.
Lindorff said 80 percent of Ron Dorff’s clients earn more than $150,000 a year, and 20 percent of them earn $250,000 a year, with ages between 30 and 45.
“We are not a young brand. These people have money, they are not necessarily gazillionaire, but that have money to buy something good and they want to try something new,” he said.
“Now we have a very loyal customer base, but they will not accept that we go on sale just to get the numbers up. It’s for the happy few, who are in the know. We will go not slowly, but carefully forward. It is not about opening 2,000 stores, we have a couple of stores in the U.S., and a few in Europe, and that’s fine,” he added.
The brand counts Michael Fassbender, Orlando Bloom and Alexander Skarsgård, amongst others, as brand ambassadors.
Puma Private Equity is a provider of growth capital to small and medium-sized businesses across all sectors and regions of the U.K., and partnering with management teams to accelerate growth and help businesses achieve their potential.