Verite Capital Partners was co-founded by Don Jones and Lynda Davey. Don and Lynda have collaborated since 2008, working in various synergistic capacities providing alternative strategic operating solutions for lower to mid-size retail and consumer products companies. Over the past 25 years, they have structured transactions that have allowed investors successful equity realizations and have collectively led retail and consumer product transactions totaling over $4 billion.
Collectively, the Verite team comprises more than a century of complementary experience and relevant skill set, as operating executives, private equity investors, investment bankers and lenders. They have collectively sourced, helped to realize value and arranged exit strategies for hundreds of small and middle-market transactions and have specialized expertise in the lower to mid-size retail, wholesale and consumer products channels where the Funds will lend and invest.
Verite – General Partners
Verite Capital Partners arranges equity investments and bridge capital primarily to small and mid-market national and regional retail companies and consumer brands that, with adequate capital, experienced oversight and collaborative execution can grow profitably for all shareholders. Our professionals understand industry trends and changes in consumer behavior and bring the proven ability to increase value and improve performance.
We target overlooked emerging or underperforming situations, orphaned or troubled divisions of larger companies with an identifiable niche or point of differentiation We also consider companies overlooked by traditional sources of private equity or mezzanine capital due to their size, complexity or circumstances. Verite is an ideal partner in situations where founders are seeking to partner with professionals who have successful operating and financing track records as both entrepreneurs and senior executives in leading international consumer and retail companies.
Verite – Verite Team
Verite Capital Partners has assembled a team with direct industry experience and track record which are invaluable resources for our portfolio companies. The Verite team collectively brings over a century of complementary experience and skills, as operating executives, private equity investors, investment bankers and lenders.
Verite – Operating Advisors
Verite has brought together a seasoned executive Operating Advisors to assist our professional team and our portfolio companies. These experienced industry executives have decades of proven experience in merchandising, product sourcing, systems development and implementation, expense reengineering and brand revitalization. They bring critical value-added skills to multi-channel consumer businesses at every phase of the business life cycle. The Operating Advisors’ collective expertise includes successfully guiding and building small and large companies during periods of expanding capital markets as well as economic downturns.
The Operating Advisors provide Verite portfolio companies specific task assistance based upon their field of expertise and are expected to contribute significantly to sourcing relationships and future investments, assisting with due diligence and serving as portfolio company board members. Select members of the Operating Advisors are listed below with summaries of their applicable experience.
Patricia Stensrud is a 20+ year fashion and luxury consumer product industry veteran who has held leadership positions with Tommy Hilfger USA, Jones Apparel Group, Avon Products, Inc. and IBM. During her career Pat has built numerous brands, a number from scratch and many which were stale brands and businesses that she reinvented and repositioned—some on a direct owned basis and others through licensing relationships. Key to her success is the translation of imaginative market vision into distinctive and well designed products which drive commercial success. On the operational side, she has refined technology and supply chain management for margin enhancement, and has managed global distribution networks covering worldwide markets.
While Pat was CEO and Vice Chair for Victoria + Co (designer jewelry division of Jones Apparel Group) the company grew from $50mm net sales with negative earnings of ($8mm) to revenues of $175mm+ and $25mm EBITDA. Under Pat’s leadership, Victoria became the #1 market leader with designer brands including Givenchy, Karl Lagerfeld, Judith Jack, Tommy Hilfiger, Nine West and many others. As President of Women’s Sportswear at Tommy Hilfiger USA, Pat restored styling and fashion credibility for TH women’s apparel, took it back to its true brand identity, launched a new segment targeted to wardrobes for working women, pioneered social media marketing strategies and enhanced the effectiveness of design/merchandising through new applications of existing technology. While at Avon, she worked in several divisions: reversing a 7-year sales decline in the fashion jewelry division ($350mm+), launching new fragrance lines for women as well as men, and launching the company’s first ever intimate apparel division. Pat founded Hudson River Partners, applying her skills to acquisition and investment opportunities in design-driven brands, companies and intellectual properties with high potential for exponential market growth and increased profitability.
William ‘Bill’ E. Freeman is a seasoned professional with varied operating experience spanning more than 40 years with consumer product distribution businesses and retailing. He has spent much of his career working in Asia and the Middle East advising and working with both U.S. and foreign companies to improve their import and export operations and assisting them in many areas to expand their businesses.
In 1989, Bill formed the Investor Group that acquired Factory Card and Party Outlet (“FCPO”), at that time 10 store Chicago based. Bill served as a FCPO’s Director and at different times between 1989 and early 1997, also served as Chairman, President and CEO, guiding its growth to more than 200 stores and a successful Initial Public Offering (NASDAQ-FCPO). In 1999, after FCPO had deviated from its’ original successful growth strategy, Factory Card entered Chapter 11 and the Board of Directors asked Bill to return as FCPO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Bill led a profitable turnaround and a successful reorganization and exit from bankruptcy. In 2007 FCPO was acquired by Amscan LLP owned by two leading PE firms. In 1997, Bill was named Midwest Entrepreneur of The Year by Ernst & Young, the Kaufman Foundation, USA Today, NASDAQ and CNBC.