Opening Ceremony Takes First Outside Investment

Expansion plans are already underway and could see new stores dedicated to the in-house brand.
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Dhani Mau
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Expansion plans are already underway and could see new stores dedicated to the in-house brand.
Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty

Just a few weeks ago, former Urban Outfitters and David Yurman CEO Glen Senk was telling us about his new venture, an investment firm targeting "innovative, high-growth" retail and consumer businesses. And it sounds like he's already found his first one: Opening Ceremony.

The New York-based retailer and fashion brand announced Tuesday that it had taken a minority investment from Berkshire Partners, an established investment firm that collaborated with Senk to co-invest in businesses like OC.

Since it's a minority stake, co-founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim will still maintain control of the company, though they will have a little help. They've established a board and appointed Senk non-executive chairman.

No doubt, they're banking on Senk's experience growing retail businesses. OC confirmed that it plans to open even more stores (there are currently locations in New York, L.A. and Tokyo), including some dedicated solely to its thriving in-house apparel and accessories line. It also plans to enhance e-commerce capabilities.

"Our growth over the years has been organic, but also strategic, and the relationship with Berkshire provides Opening Ceremony with broad resources to grow to the next level," said Lim in a statement.  "When we decided to establish a board of directors, we immediately thought of Glen, who has been a friend of Opening Ceremony and brings to our board his incredible experience growing companies.”

Leon added that they have "a lot of ideas" for new stores and hope to make OC's e-commerce experience "more dynamic."

It's not surprising that Leon and Lim have expansion on the brain. If elaborate chocolate walls and Justin Bieber sitting front row at runway shows aren't signs of a business hungry for growth, I don't know what is. If anything, the challenge will be maintaining that genuine air of cool and independent spirit as the company gets bigger, and not becoming a commercialized version of its original self.