Mizzen + Main turned to Stitch Fix to find its next chief.
The Dallas-based online men’s wear brand has tapped Chris Phillips, the head of men’s and children’s wear at Stitch Fix, to replace Kevin Lavelle, its founder and ceo. Lavelle will be leaving Mizzen + Main to join The Seminar Network, part of the Koch political network in Washington, according to CNBC, which first reported the news.
Lavelle said he had no plans to leave the company he started in 2012, but when the Koch family reached out to him about joining The Seminar Network, a business that brings together social entrepreneurs to improve the world, he decided to take the plunge.
“It was a shocking request, but they have ambitious goals to make a significant impact on society,” Lavelle said, adding that their mission “aligns with how I view the world.”
So he set out to find someone to succeed him. “I believe we’ve found the absolute perfect person to take this company to the next level,” he said. “I’m actually more excited about the future with a seasoned retail operator on board.”
Lavelle said he will continue to be involved with Mizzen + Main as chairman and an investor. He will remain with the company through the end of the month when Phillips officially joins.
Stitch Fix, who confirmed that Phillips had exited the company earlier this month, said: “Chris is a talented leader and was integral to building our men’s business, which is now over two years old. We’re grateful for his dedication to Stitch Fix and wish him lots of success in his new role. We are actively searching for a replacement, in the interim we have a very strong team in place who will continue to drive the work and delight our clients.”
On his LinkedIn page, Phillips called his new job at Mizzen + Main “a dream opportunity that brings us home to Dallas. I’m grateful for my team at Stitch Fix and thrilled beyond words for what’s ahead in building our amazing brand of Mizzen + Main.”
Before Stitch Fix, Phillips was with Gap as vice president and general manager of Banana Republic online and had also served as vice president of merchandising for men’s and children’s at Old Navy. He also served as president of Bootlegger, a multichannel specialty retailer in Canada, and was president of Peek Kids.
Mizzen + Main was founded as an online business and has since added a wholesale presence as well. Lavelle said the brand is carried in more than 800 stores including 120 Nordstrom units, specialty and golf shops. It also operates two of its own stores in Texas.
The brand began with a seed round of $250,000. A $1.25 million Series A round was completed in September 2014, followed by a $3 million Series B round in April 2016. The first two rounds were composed primarily of friends and family, as well as a few angel investors. But in 2017, L Catterton, the largest consumer-focused private equity in the world, made a significant investment in the company to help fund its growth.
Mizzen + Main began as a shirtmaker featuring performance fabrics that offer moisture-wicking and wrinkle-free properties. It has since expanded into a number of other product categories, including sport shirts and accessories. Lavelle said bottoms will be offered by the end of this year along with a performance blazer.