On Tuesday, Bonobos announced the close of a $16.4 million minority investment round led by Nordstrom and with full participation from insiders, including Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms Accel Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.The e-tailer, known for its better-fitting pants for men, will begin selling in 20 Nordstrom's stores and online at Nordstrom.com in April.
Partnering with retail legend Nordstrom was an easy decision, said Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of Bonobos. As I spent time with Blake, Pete, Erik and Jamie Nordstrom, it became clear that while they are much further along than we are, we share the same focus on creating a fantastic customer experience.
We understand there are people who still want to touch and feel clothing before they purchase. We realized we needed help expanding beyond our Web-only roots. Nordstrom is the leader in retail customer service and they are incredibly innovative. We admire their leadership team and feel lucky to be in business with them.
Bonobos launched in 2007 as an online-only retailer offering signature, tailored-fit pants for men. The Bonobos line has since expanded to include a full menswear collection. Nordstrom will carry the top two product lines of Bonobos -- the best-selling Washed Chinos in core khaki colors and colorful spring options, and the Bonobos Weekday Warriors, a collection of non-iron cotton trousers.
Bonobos makes great-fitting product, and customers are clearly responding to their energetic sense of style. They are a pioneer in leveraging the Internet to build great relationships with their customers, a common focus of both organizations, said Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct. Our investment with Bonobos will enable Nordstrom to participate in the young company's phenomenal growth, and we look forward to what we can learn from each other as we build the business together.
Though Bonobos has a brick-and-mortar showroom shop at its New York City headquarters, Nordstrom will be the first external retailer to carry the brand in-store.
Bonobos' offline development has piqued the interest of many.
Bonobos's expansion offline is an unusual direction for an online-only brand to take. Most established U.S. fashion companies in the U.S. and Western Europe are expanding their online businesses, not their offline entities, wrote Mashable's Lauren Indvik.
Ralph Lauren-owned label Club Monaco and 3.1 Phillip Lim only established online stores in the past month, as examples, while Paris-based shoe designer Christian Louboutin expanded its digital footprint with the launch of an e-commerce shop in Europe this week. Bonobos, as the company noted in a press release, evolved in the reverse, launching itself on the Web, building to scale and then extending offline.
The following is a list of Nordstrom locations where Bonobos will be available for purchase:
The Grove (Los Angeles)
Fashion Island (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Fashion Valley (San Diego)
San Francisco Centre (San Francisco)
Cherry Creek Shopping Center (Denver)
The Gardens Mall (Palm Beach Gardens, Fa.)
Phipps Plaza (Atlanta)
Michigan Avenue (Chicago)
Oakbrook Center (Oak Brook, Ill.)
Natick Collection (Natick, Mass.)
Montgomery Mall (Bethesda, Md.)
Mall of America (Bloomington, Minn.)
Garden State Plaza (Paramus, N.J.)
Short Hills (Short Hills, N.J.)
Washington Square (Tigard, Ore.)
The Mall at Green Hills (Nashville, Tenn.)
The Shops at La Cantera (San Antonio)
Tysons Corner Center (McLean, Va.)
Downtown Seattle (Seattle)