Bonobos, a brand that sells men’s clothing online, has raised $16.4 million led by retail giant Nordstrom, with Accel Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners participating. This brings the company’s total funding to nearly $40 million. In addition to the funding, Nordstrom will now sell Bonobos clothing at a number of its stores and on Nordstrom.com. The news was originally reported by the New York Times.
Bonobos is best known for launching an online site to help men find better-fitting pants. The company debuted in 2007 with their signature pants, and eventually expanded to offer a full menswear line, including dress shirts, suits, shorts, sweaters and more.
The site was originally founded by Brian Spaly and Andy Dunn while at Stanford Business School, Spaly has since left Bonobos to lead online men’s stylist and platform Trunk Club.
The deal with Nordstrom will be the first time the brand is available in-store and online outside Bonobos.com and the company’s New York City headquarters’ showroom store. Beginning in April, Nordstrom will carry the top two product lines of Bonobos: the best-selling Washed Chinos as well as the Bonobos Weekday Warriors, a collection of non-iron cotton trousers. In addition, some seasonal pants and shorts will be offered at select stores and online. The brand will launch at 20 of Nordstrom’s full-line stores and within the Men’s Shop on Nordstrom.com.
What makes the partnership interesting is that the clothing brand has been able to launch on the web, scale, and then expand into offline sales. It’s a model that could eventually become more popular with other online brands. For example, you could imagine Warby Parker, the New York-based startup that sells prescription, designer glasses, cutting a similar deal.
Dunn said of the Nordstrom integration: “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, in particular, hasn’t shied away from approaching some of the newer e-commerce models for retail. Last March, the retailer acquired flash sales site HauteLook for $270 million. The New York Times reports that Nordstrom plans to spend $140 million on e-commerce this year, a 40 percent increase from 2011. And with the company’s investment in Bonobos, Nordstrom is making another bet on an online e-commerce model.