L Catterton Asia enters partnership with eyewear brand Gentle Monster
L Catterton Asia, the Asian division of L Catterton, announced on Thursday a partnership with IICombined, the owner and operator of global eyewear brand Gentle Monster.
Founded in 2011 by Jay Oh and Hankook Kim, Gentle Monster is available in 19 countries operates 11 standalone, including a store in New York City that opened in 2016.
The new partnership with L Catterton Asia may help the experimental eyewear brand expand into new regions. L Catterton Asia leads a consortium including Groupe Arnault in the Gentle Monster investment.
"In a time where Gentle Monster is progressing into a global fashion eyewear brand, we are honored to partner with L Catterton Asia and Groupe Arnault,” said Gentle Monster Co-founder and CEO Kim Hankook.
“We lead the industry and consumer trend through this vision. We already have a presence in Greater China and America and plan to further expand our footprint into Europe and the Middle East. Our goal is to reach even more international consumers, offer them our distinctive products and flagship experiences and continue to inspire them by conveying our unique approach to building the future of retail."
Gentle Monster is the latest brand to receive an investment from L Catterton. Prior to the private equity firm’s Asian division partnering with Gentle Monster, L Catterton invested in Equinox Fitness and cosmetics brand Il Makiage, and its Growth Fund invested in Mizzen + Main, Rhone Apparel and Tula skincare.
"We are delighted to partner with the founders of Gentle Monster,” said Ravi Thakran, Chairman and Managing Partner of L Catterton Asia.
“Gentle Monster is already outselling more established competitors, delivering retail productivity on par with or better than many luxury brands. Given the relatively low penetration rates for sunglasses across most Asian markets, and Gentle Monster's success in addressing the unique needs of Asian consumers, we see strong growth potential for the Company."
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