February 11, 2013
Published by Sonya Brown
February 11, 2013
After considerable research, we anointed women’s apparel as one of our core areas of focus within our broader consumer investing thesis. The industry represents a large and growing market with a number of strategic shifts fostering enticing investment prospects. We sought an opportunity to partner with a respected brand and strong management team where we could leverage Norwest’s strategic expertise in e-commerce, international expansion and marketing to build a major force within women’s apparel. We feel very fortunate to announce today that the Bailey44 team has selected Norwest as its partner for the next wave of the company’s already impressive growth. As a well-established, profitable and bootstrapped business, Bailey44 didn’t need an investment partner. The brand was already performing exceptionally well with broad penetration across most large and specialty retail doors. Therefore, we feel privileged that Bailey44 chose Norwest as a partner. We’re very excited to work collaboratively with the team, maintaining the company’s existing culture and vision while leveraging Norwest’s consumer experience and strategic resources.
We’re particularly enthusiastic about our investment in Bailey44 because of the growth opportunities that lie ahead in addition to the already strong base on which the brand is built. Bailey44 is run by an extraordinary management team that has worked together for nearly 10 years. They’ve diligently and consistently grown the business at an impressive rate over this time period while forging relationships with some of the most coveted retailers globally. The design team, with an already proven track record, has built a remarkable line and tactically embarked on category expansion. Among consumers, Bailey44 is known as a high-end, though not out of reach, brand catering to women of nearly all ages. While not overly fashion forward, Bailey44 offers women a variety of apparel for everything from casual to cocktail and desk to dinner. The results of our consumer studies suggested that design and fit are two of Bailey44’s most highly acclaimed attributes throughout the line. The company also has an exceptionally high Net Promoter Score which was among the highest we’ve witnessed in women’s apparel. Bailey44 has accomplished all of this with only minimal marketing efforts. We believe that this truly speaks to the strength of the core line and consumer attachment.
Deeply rooted in Bailey44’s growth strategy is the mission to deliver women more high quality apparel for a host of style needs and occasions. To accomplish this objective, the company will leverage its already strong brand and Norwest’s strategic resources to accelerate category expansion, increase distribution and grow globally. We have already embarked on several exciting strategic initiatives that are even further enhancing brand awareness and positioning. We also expect Bailey44 to benefit tremendously in the years to come from the trend of apparel purchasing shifting online.
A critical component of Norwest’s consumer investing thesis is to find brands that can leverage our network and strategic resources in the consumer industry. We will continue to search for these brands across segments of the consumer industry that align with secular themes uncovered through our ongoing research. Apparel, personal care, food & beverage, household products and consumer services will remain core areas of focus. Lastly, as partners to exceptional management teams, we remain keenly focused on maintaining the existing culture at the companies in which we invest. Bailey44 is an exciting addition to our consumer portfolio and will complement brands such as ToPo Athletic, ModCloth, PCA Skin, and My Alarm Center. We look forward to our long term partnership with the Bailey44 team.