Gigi Hill Inc., a California-based maker of handbags and tote bags, has closed on $3 million in venture capital. Maveron led the Series A round, which included participation from Trinity Ventures and Maveron sector advisor Mark Vadon. Jason Stoffer and Clayton Lewis of Maveron will join the company’s board as a result of the financing. The company will use the funds to build out its team.
Gigi Hill, Inc., a company that designs, manufactures and sells a unique line of handbags and totes primarily via in-home parties, today announced that it has closed a $3 million Series A funding round led by Maveron LLC, the consumer-focused venture capital firm formed by former investment banker Dan Levitan and Starbucks’ Chief Executive Howard Schultz. Also participating in the funding round were Trinity Ventures and Maveron Sector Advisor Mark Vadon, the co-founder of Blue Nile and Zulily. Gigi Hill also announced that Jason Stoffer and Clayton Lewis of Maveron will join the company’s Board of Directors.
“In retail, a successful business combines great execution and a great culture, focused on doing hundreds of things every day to delight customers and empower its team,” said Gigi Hill CEO Gabrielle DeSantis-Cummings. “We are delighted that Gigi Hill will have the benefit of Maveron’s deep experience establishing consumer businesses that are relentlessly focused on innovation and the customer’s experience. Together with Trinity Ventures’ track record in the e-commerce space and Mark Vadon’s incredible success as an entrepreneur, we are blessed with a team of financial partners to help fuel our growth.”
Gigi Hill founders DeSantis-Cummings and Monica Hillman are Southern California soccer moms who started Gigi Hill at a kitchen table, with a vision of designing bags and totes that are fashionable yet functional and versatile enough for the destinations of everyday life — the office, the gym, the airport, suburban playgrounds and city sidewalks.
From the outset, the pair believed direct selling was the ideal business model for their new company. “A Gigi Hill party is a different kind of home party — it’s a fun, social outlet for moms where we let the product really sell itself,” said Hillman.
Gigi Hill will use the new capital to fuel the company’s rapid growth, including building out its executive team.
“Gigi Hill is a company that intersects two very compelling markets — direct selling and handbags,” said Stoffer. “Gigi Hill stylists and customers share an incredible passion for the company’s unique line of functional and fashionable product. The company is building a community around the brand and fostering a strong relationship with its members.”
“Trinity Ventures actively seeks opportunities to turbocharge traditional offline commerce models with the promotional power of the Internet. We are excited to partner with the Gigi Hill team to help accelerate the growth of its strong direct selling model,” said Trinity Ventures General Partner Patricia Nakache.
According to the Direct Selling Association, more than 15 million people work in direct sales in the U.S., generating more than $30 billion in sales annually ($114 billion worldwide). The U.S. handbag market is expected to be $9 billion by 2015 and the handbag company Vera Bradley completed a successful initial public offering in October 2010.
About Gigi Hill
Gigi Hill is a privately owned direct sales company that designs and manufactures a unique line of high quality handbags and totes that are as practical and functional as they are fashionable. Headquartered in Yorba Linda, CA and founded by Gabrielle DeSantis-Cummings and Monica Hillman, Gigi Hill’s direct selling model empowers a growing sales force of women entrepreneurs across the country who offer consumers a lively, personalized buying experience.
Maveron is a venture capital firm that invests exclusively in consumer companies. Founded in 1998 by Dan Levitan and Howard Schultz, the firm has offices in Seattle and San Francisco. Representative Maveron investments include Altius Education, eBay, Capella Education, Groupon, Livemocha, Shutterfly, Trupanion and Zulily. For more information about Maveron, visit www.maveron.com.
About Trinity Ventures
Founded in 1986, Trinity Ventures, a boutique venture capital firm, is dedicated to partnering with passionate entrepreneurs to transform revolutionary ideas into reality. With over $1 billion under management, Trinity Ventures believes in personal engagement, mutual respect and goal alignment with the entrepreneurs they fund. Trinity Ventures focuses on early stage and seed technology ventures with a particular emphasis on digital media, cloud computing, Internet services, mobility, security, commerce and software markets.