Tom James Company and Royal Spirit Purchase Connaught Group Assets

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World’s Largest Custom Menswear Manufacturer and Key Connaught Group Manufacturer Create Joint Venture

"We love direct selling and we love working with independent consultants who are building a great clientele business.”
- Jim Brubaker, CEO of the newly formed Carlisle Etcetera, LLC.

Tom James Company, the world’s largest manufacturer and retailer of custom men’s clothing, and Royal Spirit Limited, of Hong Kong, the Connaught Group’s largest manufacturer of women’s clothes, today completed their purchase of Connaught Group assets in a bankruptcy sale.

The Connaught Group consists of the brands Carlisle, Per Se and Etcetera, which design and manufacture high fashion women’s wear marketed through a network of independent wardrobe consultants throughout the US. The company was founded in 1981 by William D. Rondina and recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Manhattan. Rondina was the sole shareholder.

Tom James Company is comprised of a wholesale group (Individualized Apparel Group, or IAG) and a retail arm (Tom James). IAG’s brands including Holland & Sherry, Oxxford Clothes, H. Freeman, and menswear companies Corbin and Gitman Bros. All brands are manufactured in their own facilities and mills.

Tom James’ retail division employs over 450 professional clothiers who, like the Connaught Group consultants, work ‘by appointment’ to offer custom professional wear manufactured by its own shops.

Royal Spirit Ltd., based in Hong Kong, is a premium apparel supplier serving luxury life-style fashion brands and upscale retailers in Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. It has been the largest manufacturer of the Connaught Group’s designs and operates in China and Germany. It can trace its roots back to 1834. Thomas Hebestreit, CEO of Royal Spirit, said “Carlisle and Etcetera are great brands and we have been working with them for over 20 years. We will continue to maintain the same high standard of quality and fashion Carlisle and Etcetera have been known for in the industry.”

The partners intend to continue to operate the company, named Carlisle Etcetera LLC, as a free-standing entity. They expect to retain substantially all of the current employees and vendors. The brands will emerge from the Chapter 11 sale and join two financially strong companies who plan to invest in the company and build it.

Jim Brubaker of Tom James, who was appointed by the partners as CEO of the new company, agreed. “We love direct selling and we love working with independent consultants who are building a great clientele business. We are excited about the opportunity and are looking forward to working with them.”

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Michele Stephens
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