Opening Ceremony Announces Plans to Accelerate Growth with Investment from Berkshire Partners

With new resources, co-founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon will amplify Opening Ceremony’s e-commerce capabilities and fashion collection and expand its retail presence with both mono-brand and multi-brand stores.


New York, New York, April 22, 2014 — Opening Ceremony, the multi-faceted fashion brand and retailer, today announced that Berkshire Partners LLC, the Boston-based investment firm, has made a minority investment in the company.  The new capital will be used to accelerate the company’s growth, including plans to enhance its Opening Ceremony women’s, men’s and accessories collections and its e-commerce capabilities, as well as further expand its retail presence with Opening Ceremony mono-brand and multi-brand stores. Carol Lim and Humberto Leon will continue to lead the company and have established a Board of Directors, which Glen T. Senk will join as non-executive Chairman.

Founded as a single store on Howard Street in Soho in 2002, Opening Ceremony today is a global organization centered on the discovery and sharing of brands and ideas from around the world.  Opening Ceremony has integrated a variety of platforms to connect with customers and creatives, including stores in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo; an Opening Ceremony apparel and accessories collection that is sold in over 200 leading stores worldwide; and a robust e-commerce destination and editorial platform.

Carol Lim said, “We are thrilled to have Berkshire Partners as new investors. Since starting Opening Ceremony, Humberto and I have worked together to create a company with a strong point of view that offers our customers a fresh shopping experience in our stores, collections and website. 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. 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. It's exciting that he and Berkshire Partners have teamed up, and we're delighted to be working with both of them.”

Humberto Leon added, “We go by our instincts—it’s the way Opening Ceremony has gotten to where it is today. Carol and I want to continue the special path of Opening Ceremony because we’ve felt such a strong desire for it from our customers. We’ve got a lot of ideas for more Opening Ceremony stores and we want to build our online platform to be even more dynamic. Opening Ceremony online has been an incredible playground for us, we feel an amazing potential there.  Forging this new relationship with Berkshire is a key part of the next stage of our story.”

Marni F. Payne, Senior Director at Berkshire Partners, said, “Opening Ceremony has long been at the leading edge of creativity and consumer connection in the retail community.  The strength of its brand presents a tremendous platform for growth across products, geographies and channels.  We look forward to working with Carol and Humberto and the rest of the Opening Ceremony team to support the next phase of the company’s development.”

Financo, the investment bank specializing in the consumer industry, represented Opening Ceremony in this transaction with Berkshire Partners.

About Opening Ceremony
Opening Ceremony was founded in 2002 by two college friends, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, as a place to share their passions for travel, art, and fashion.  Inspired by a trip to Hong Kong, they left their jobs in corporate fashion to realize their unique dream, inspired by the inclusive principles of the Olympic Games. What began as a single store on a quiet street in downtown New York is now a global community with retail outposts in New York, London, and Los Angeles, multiple stores in Tokyo, a global e-commerce and editorial destination, a wholesale designer showroom and a publishing division.

Over the years, Opening Ceremony has partnered with international brands to create signature collections including Adidas, Rodarte, Pendleton, Hickey Freeman, Timberland and Maison Martin Margiela, and has become known for its collaborations with creatives like Spike Jonze, Ryan McGinley, and Chloë Sevigny.

In September 2013, Opening Ceremony presented its women’s and men’s collections on the runway for the first time during New York Fashion Week to an audience of more than 1,200 guests including Rihanna and Baz Luhrmann.
 
About Berkshire Partners LLC
Berkshire Partners, the Boston-based investment firm, pursues investments in both private equity and marketable securities. Since 1986, the firm has deployed capital from its eight private equity funds with $11 billion in aggregate capital commitments to invest in over 100 companies, with a significant number of investments in retail and consumer-oriented businesses.  Prior transactions include Aritzia, a North American women's fashion apparel retailer; Bare Escentuals, a marketer and retailer of branded cosmetics and skin care products and Coty Inc., a global designer, manufacturer and marketer of beauty products.