Adriana Lima

Safilo has purchased a majority stake in the affordable eyewear brand, Privé Revaux, founded by David Schottenstein.

The Italian company bought a 61 percent interest and Schottenstein and his celebrity partners, Jamie Foxx, Hailee Steinfeld and Ashley Benson, will retain 39 percent ownership.

Schottenstein created Privé Revaux two and a half years ago as a fashionable alternative to premium sunglasses. Most of the styles sell for around $29.95.

The brand has also been given a boost by creating capsules with well-known people including Benson, Steinfeld, “Riverdale” star Madelaine Petsch, and most recently, model Adriana Lima. In mid-2018, Privé Revaux received an undisclosed investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners.

Schottenstein, a member of the Ohio family that made its name in the retail business with discounters such as Value City Department Stores, DSW and Filene’s Basement, has called himself a serial entrepreneur. He started his first business at age 12, selling cigars to businessmen. He founded the custom bespoke tailoring company Astor & Black, which he sold to private equity firm Castanea Partners, as well as Swiss Stays, a collar stay brand that he sold to a private investor. He also started a legal billing business that he sold as soon as possible. “I never realized how miserable I would be,” he said. “It was like selling ground beef to a vegan. The minute I got an offer, I was out.”

But he feels differently about Privé Revaux, which remains a labor of love. Schottenstein told WWD that he wasn’t looking to sell the brand but was approached by Safilo, which is working to increase its reach and relevance with younger consumers. After meeting chief executive officer Angelo Trocchia through a mutual friend, the more synergies they uncovered.

“Safilo is 140 years old and one of the top names in the eyewear business,” he said. “As an entrepreneur, it was very exciting to be considered as an addition to the company.”

Schottenstein will continue as ceo of Privé Revaux and the team at the Miami headquarters will also he retained, he said. But the brand will grow by leveraging Safilo’s large, international infrastructure. He said he is also expecting to apply some of the learnings he has acquired from Privé to other Safilo brands.

“I love Privé Revaux and it was important that I was completely aligned with Angelo and Safilo,” Schottenstein said. “I’m excited to take my skill set and apply it to historic, legacy brands.”

The publicly listed Safilo recently lost both the Dior and Gucci licenses, and has been restructuring to attract a younger consumer. In December, it made a similar deal with Blenders Eyewear, a California-based digitally native firm, acquiring a 70 percent stake from founder Chase Fisher. The founder and headquarters of that brand we’re also retained.

Safilo produces its own brand as well as Carrera and Polaroid, and produces and distributes for labels ranging from Fendi, Tommy Hilfiger and Jimmy Choo to Max Mara and Marc Jacobs. This year, it is launching three new licenses: Missoni, Levi’s and David Beckham.

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