Andy Janowski has taken the reins at J.Hilburn, the direct seller of made-to-measure men’s wear.
Janowski most recently served as executive chairman of the J.Hilburn board and succeeds Veeral Rathod, cofounder and chief executive officer, who has resigned to explore other opportunities, according to the company.
Janowski has more than 30 years of experience in the apparel industry and had served as ceo of Smythson where he grew the brand 50 percent during his tenure. Janowski has also been chief operating officer at Burberry Group and also worked for the Gap Inc.
The change comes as the company has expanded beyond suits to more casual men’s offering such as chinos and shorts and has also added to its retail footprint. It had started as strictly a shirt brand but offers suits, sport coats, trousers, knitwear, outerwear, accessories and shoes.
The company was founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Hil Davis, who recruited Rathod, an investment banker, to join him in the business. Davis left the company in 2013.
In 2009, J.Hilburn secured institutional investment from Battery Ventures, a venture capital firm, and since then, it has been joined by two other investors, Janowski said. “But Battery continues to be a strong supporter.”
“As an initial investor, Battery Ventures believed early on in the power of the J.Hilburn model,” said Michael Brown, Battery Ventures’ general partner and J.Hilburn board director. “With Andy’s appointment and the current leadership team, we could not be more confident with that investment and the future of the company.”
The Dallas-based J.Hilburn has a network of nearly 2,000 stylists across the U.S. that provide personal fittings and styling sessions to customers. The company operates a store in Dallas as well as showrooms in New York City; Bellevue, Wash., and Boston.
Janowski , who joined the J.Hilburn board three years ago, said he had been working “in the wings to help guide the product and also helped out on marketing. But the board asked me to step in and be the new ceo. I thought I was going to be a stay-at-home dad for my five-year-old twins and serve on four boards, but I could not resist stepping back into this role for a company that has so much opportunity.”
He believes the company has growth potential on two fronts.
“We want to expand to a lifestyle brand so we’ll continue to refine and add to our sophisticated casual offering,” he said. While tailored clothing accounts for about 80 percent of sales, he hopes that eventually, casual and tailored will be each account for about 50 percent of the business.
In addition, he will work to expand the retail presence and the company’s web site. The number of stylists will also be expanded, he said.
Janowski believes the J.Hilburn model differs from that of its competitors such as Knot Standard or Tom James because of its high-end Italian fabrics and manufacturing capabilities. “The business model is similar, but the experience is more elevated,” he said. Shirts are delivered within one week while suits, which sell for around $1,000, are delivered within two to three weeks.
“Our supply chain and our stylists are our secret weapons,” he said. “I believe this is the right brand at the right time. We are going to do nothing but grow.”