Goodman Gears Up for Expansion

After landing an outside investor, Georgina Goodman is in growth mode.

The $6.5 million deal — which gives U.K. private-equity group Core Capital LLP a minority stake in the designer’s business — comes at a time when many young designers are struggling to find funding.

“We did it to grow our business to the next level and to put the financial backbone and personnel in place to support the growth,” said B.J. Cunningham, who runs the business with his wife, Goodman, who also consults on footwear collections for Alexander McQueen and Casadei.

With that in mind, the brand has set out to expand its management team. Already in place is a new CFO, Kieran Shah, who joined the company on Jan. 4 from Agent Provocateur, the British lingerie company, where he was also CFO.  Now the firm is on the hunt for a communications head and commercial director.

Retail expansion is also on the agenda. The company, which has two London stores, is scouting additional locations in Paris, New York and London. “It’s a great time to pick up good leases in retail,” said Cunningham.

On the wholesale side of the business, the brand counts 70 accounts globally, and its fastest-growing markets are Asia and the Middle East. Following the investment, Cunningham said he is eager to re-open partnerships with premium U.S. department stores, but acknowledged that the recent crisis has made doing business in the market particularly difficult.

“There seems to be chaos in the U.S., and as a small brand, it’s very difficult to avoid being kicked around,” Cunningham said. “[But] we have worked through our delivery problems … and we are also in good shape with department stores in terms of sell-through and stock support.”

The brand is stocked in U.S. independents including Louis Boston and Wynn Las Vegas, which has reported solid sales of the brand at its InStep location.

”Georgina Goodman is a very talented designer,” said Todd Hanshaw, DMM of Wynn Las Vegas. “Her shoes are identifiable and unique to her, and that has been a great part of her current success. This injection of capital should allow them more flexibility and time in growing their collection and [gaining] more power with factories.”

At home, buyers from London-based Matches said the brand has successfully differentiated itself in a difficult environment.

“Georgina Goodman’s shoes really stand out in the crowd, as they offer a truly specialist product, which is what keeps our clients inspired,” said fashion and buying director Bridget Cosgrave.

As it looks to expand its retail reach, Cunningham said the brand will return to Micam in March. The executive said he still considers it to be the best place for taking the temperature of the international shoe market.

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