Velvet Lands Investor, Plans Retail

Culver City, Calif.–based contemporaryapparel maker Velvet Inc. sold an undisclosed “significant interest” to Snow Phipps, a New York–based private-equity firm. Terms of the deal were not made public.

According to a release from Snow Phipps, Henry Hirschowitz, Velvet’s chief executive, and the entire senior management team, including designers Jenny Graham and Toni Spencer, will remain with Velvet. Andrew Megibow, operating partner at Snow Phipps and an Ellen Tracy alum, will join Velvet as non-executive chairman.

Hirschowitz said the deal, which will not affect Velvet’s day-to-day operations, had been in the works for approximately one year. The injection of capital will put into motion plans for Velvet-branded retail stores and licensing deals, Hirschowitz said. “We hope to see our first retail store opened within the next 12 months,” he said.

The company produces garments under the Velvet, Graham & Spencer and Velvetmen labels, which are sold domestically and internationally at retailers such as Barneys, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. “This transaction represents our firm’s first foray into the apparel industry despite having spent a number of years searching for an ideal investment candidate,” said Ian Snow, managing partner at Snow Phipps, in a statement. “The Snow Phipps team is pleased to be partnering with the great team at Velvet.” The Sage Group, a national investment bank specializing in merger-and-acquisition advisory services, acted as Velvet’s financial adviser in the deal. William Susman and Financo Inc. advised Snow Phipps. —Erin Barajas