After a year of consulting for What Goes Around Comes Around, Frank Bober has taken a stake in the company and has signed on as vice chairman.
Targeting more than $50 million in revenue this year, the luxury and vintage accessories resale retailer recently opened a Miami boutique, started buying items including clothing from clients and quietly relaunched its site with an official unveiling of the $1 million redesign set for next month.
Bober has spent his career in the fashion industry, most recently as the founder and chief executive officer of Stylesight, which WGSN paid “in the $100 million area” for in 2013, he said. Early on he had his own men’s wear label before taking executive roles at Arthur Richards and Polo Ralph Lauren. He started CMT Enterprises in 1979 to develop private label men’s wear and women’s wear for top retailers and sold it in 2000. He now is an investor and board member for Fuser, a start-up that offers an ecosystem of a smart helmet, camera, headset, handlebar remote and app for adventure types.
What Goes Around last year was looking to raise $30 million in an investment round and those who saw the prospectus from the company said its 2016 revenues were projected to be $31.6 million with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $4.8 million, rising to $55.2 million and EBITDA of $8.8 million in 2017 and to $197.7 million and $37.4 million, respectively, by 2020.
Bober would not confirm those figures, saying only that he is a minority investor and that sales last year were “above $30 million and should be $50 million to $55 million this year.
“The most important thing is we’re very profitable. A lot of these companies that have gone into this space especially on the web, have raised huge amounts of institutional funding, but they’re not making money,” said Bober, emphasizing that cofounder Seth Weisser is “very fussy” about what is purchased for resale.
Staffing up the company, which also has stores in Beverly Hills and in New York’s SoHo, will include hiring a chief financial officer. What Goes Around’s stores have sales of about $1,400 a square foot, according to the prospectus.
Through its Retail Partners division, WGACA works with Gilt Groupe, Saks Off 5th, Shopbop and Dillard’s. The Retail Partners division generates 60 percent of overall volume, retail sales kick in 35 percent and the site accounts for 5 percent, said Bober, who referred to the Retail Partners division as “proof there are pockets of demand for luxury items throughout the country like Lubbock, Tex., San Antonio and Des Moines. It doesn’t have to be the big cities.”
Once or twice a week he commutes from his home in the Hamptons to the company’s Seventh Avenue South offices. “There’s lots of so-called luxury out there. We are very fussy about the product and the authentication,” he said. “It’s not just taking used merchandise and selling it. It’s sensing the demand and the acceptance. To me, that’s critical that the consumer now sees the experience of resale as something very special. We’re seeing people are interested in retail our way because you can’t find these pieces everywhere.”
The site’s average selling price is $1,200, according to the prospectus.
For this next phase, Bober said, “We’re telling people, ‘What got us here, won’t get us there.'”