New York, NY - (Press Release) - Nina McLemore, Inc., announced today that it has closed on $3.7 million of growth financing. Nina McLemore, Inc. is a designer women's clothing company that markets to successful executives, professionals and community leaders through a focused direct sales force and better specialty stores. The company will use the funds to expand its client base and direct distribution channel.
The $3.7 million venture financing was led by Aperture Venture Partners, LLC, and includes investments from Chazen Capital Partners, founded by Jerome Chazen, co-founder of Liz Claiborne, Inc., Slater Equity, and individual investors who are experts in the apparel and retail industry.
"Nina McLemore, Inc. is at a very attractive stage in its growth cycle." said Paul E. Tierney, Jr., Managing Director of Aperture Venture Partners. "Nina and her management team have proven track records in the fashion business. The strong consumer response over the last two years has demonstrated Nina McLemore's appeal. We look forward to partnering with Nina and her team to help realize the company's exceptional growth potential."
"Nina McLemore epitomizes today's Leading Edge women business owners who are much more likely than men and women in general to take financial risks, especially when it comes to expansion capital for their businesses." said Sharon Hadary, Executive Director of the Center for Women's Business Research, based on their latest research on women business owners seeking growth capital.
As business owners, high-ranking executives, and "community professionals," many women have been disappointed by the fashion industry's failure to meet their needs for designer level clothing appropriate for their active business, travel and social schedules.
Nina McLemore's line of clothing has received enthusiastic response from these women executives and high net worth active women, in large part due to her strategic approach that combines designer-quality fabrics and workmanship in simple, elegant styles with a direct sales model.
"These are the clothes I have always been looking for...beautiful fabrics, well made in styles that are distinctive and still easy to wear and take care of...an unusual combination. They fit well, travel well, and always make me feel great!" said Nancye Green, founder of Donovan/Green, a branding consultancy, and EQmedia, building brands in drtv. "From a retail perspective, Nina's direct approach certainly streamlines the value chain between the manufacturer and the consumer, which is particularly important today." said Dr. Myra Hart, professor at Harvard Business School and co-founder of Staples, Inc. "The direct sales approach provides excellent consumer feedback, personalized service, and an attractive shopping environment."
With almost half of the privately held businesses in the United States majority-owned and operated by women and generating nearly $2.3 trillion in sales , entrepreneurial women now represent an important economic powerhouse. By making clothing available through trunk shows and better specialty stores, Nina McLemore is able to provide service and convenience in a more intimate setting better suited than a department store to these women's preference for convenience and service when making consumer purchases.
"I founded Nina McLemore, Inc. to focus a designer collection on a large and fast growing demographic of successful and wealthy women who have been frustrated by the lack of clothing designed for them. In 2002, we launched in only four cities," said Nina McLemore, CEO and founder of Nina McLemore, Inc. "Based on the response of the thousands of women I have met across the country, we have been able to quickly expand the business to almost 30 markets in less than two years. We have clearly met an untapped need in the marketplace and are able to provide an income opportunity for many women who need or want to work and require flexible schedules."
Avalon Group, Ltd. a private New York based investment bank represented Nina McLemore, Inc. in arranging this growth financing. Avalon's principals own a portion of the company.
About Nina McLemore, Inc. Nina McLemore, Inc. designs high-quality clothing in simple, elegant styles that fit contemporary, successful executive women and women who are active in their communities. The Collection is sold on an exclusive basis through select better specialty stores and to private customers through exclusive sales consultants. Made of mostly natural fibers from the finest European mills, the fabrics are chosen for their luxurious textures, elegant design, quality and ability to withstand rigorous travel schedules. The Collection emphasizes jackets that transform an outfit with a timeless style. Prices range from $65 to $900, and represent a better value compared to more expensive designer collections.
Nina McLemore is the founder of Liz Claiborne Accessories and was a member of the Executive Committee at Liz Claiborne, Inc. She was previously V.P. GMM of May Department Stores International and co-Founded Regent Capital Partners. She is an active supporter of women in business and is the former Chair of the Center for Women's Business Research and Fashion Group International. She is a founding member of The Committee of 200, a member of Women's Presidents Organization, The Financial Women's Association, the International Women's Forum, and World President's Organization. She is a frequent speaker and mentor to young women, and has a passion for helping women succeed. Her greatest personal accomplishment is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
About Aperture Venture Partners, LLC Aperture Venture Partners is a venture capital group committed to working with exceptional entrepreneurs to tackle significant problems and create major new opportunities. Aperture works with companies across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, consumer industries and business services.