Officine Générale secures funding for US expansion from The Untitled Group
Officine Générale, the Parisian men's and women's ready-to-wear fashion house founded by Pierre Mahéo in 2012, has reached a new phase of its development, having received an injection of funds from U.S. investment fund The Untitled Group. Alongside this transaction, the sum of which has not been revealed, BPI France, which has been an investor in Officine Générale since 2015, has made a further show of its faith in the fashion label by increasing its stake in the company.
In the space of a few years, Mahéo, who is still the majority shareholder of his brand, has been able to gradually build a reputation for the discreet charm of his Parisian label, by paying particular attention to cut and fabrics. A regular of the French capital's menswear fashion week, the brand has won over swathes of men about town, both in France and abroad. And the coronavirus crisis does not seem to have hampered this strong dynamic, as, in the fiscal year ended April 31, 2021, Officine Générale saw its sales rise 18%, including an 80% jump in e-commerce revenues.
Understandably, therefore, Officine Générale is intending to strengthen its digital channel with its latest injection of funding, but it also has other plans. "Despite the pandemic and the difficult retail situation due to store closures, I really believe that omnichannel is the key," explains Mahéo, who hopes to open 12 new Officine Générale boutiques over the next three years.
The brand's priority is still the imminent opening of a store in New York, then the launch of another in Los Angeles by next spring. Indeed, the U.S., where 50 of the label's 150 global multibrand retail partners operate, accounts for 50% of Officine Générale's wholesale revenues and 30% of its online sales. Securing the financial support of an American partner was therefore a strategically important move.
"Our initial goal was to secure financing in 2020, but the operation didn't come through because of the health crisis. We were in contact with French and Franco-American investment funds. The Untitled Group, which is a new structure founded by Josh Rowan and Adam Freed, is aligned with our values and offers real resources in terms of guidance and teams," said Mahéo.
In order to lead its new growth phase, Officine Générale, which employs some 50 collaborators, has turned to a seasoned executive who knows the brand well. Vanessa Bonnefoux, who served as Officine Générale's CFO from 2015 to 2017, stepped into the role of CEO at the company in March. Previously, she was CEO of French children's brand Bonton.
Officine Générale currently has four boutiques in central Paris, as well as a space in department store Le Bon Marché. The brand has also opened a location on London's Beak Street, in Soho. In France, the label has plans to open a larger store in Paris, where it can develop its new retail concept, but is also considering locations in Lyon. Both Munich and Geneva are among the other cities being observed by the brand.
Officine Générale is scheduled to show its latest collection in Paris on June 25, at 3PM.
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