THREE DIFFERENT HATS, ONE AMAZING ARTISINAL COMPANY AND AN ENDURING STORY OF
Formed in 1982, Thymes was founded by two friends with a mutual curiosity and a common desire to enrich daily experience by creating fragrances that were meaningful and beautiful. Thymes is a premium and innovative brand with highly curated fragrance collections that include bath, body and home products. Thymes products are found in more than 5,000 stores in North America.
Jim D’Aquila met Stephanie Shopa, one of the Thymes founders, in 2006. At that point in time, she had brilliantly run the business for 24 years. However, her co-founder and co-owner had mostly retired and Stephanie wanted to recapitalize the Thymes, monetize her co-founder and find growth capital for the future. The process began a few months later.
The Thymes was extremely well received by both strategic and financial buyers but the markets were entering perilous times. By early 2007, the mortgage market melt-down was well underway and both Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns were under the Fed’s microscope. The frothy market for deals was suddenly becoming flat. But, Stephanie remained steadfast in her desire to work with us to find a creative path that would help the Thymes achieve its financial and strategic goals.
By the end of the first quarter of 2007, investors fully realized that we were heading into a full-blown recession.
By the end of the first quarter of 2007, many private equity firms and strategic buyers of companies were completely receding from the market. Yet, a few investors remained committed to the transactions. One in particular was an ardent advocate of his belief in the brand.
Laurens Goff never seemed to blink when it came to his desire to consummate a transaction with the Thymes. And, the chemistry he struck with Stephanie was remarkably strong. But, we had to work closely with Laurens to creatively fund the deal in such a difficult financing market.
Stone-Goff worked with the Thymes and Jim and his team to arrange a unique and creative capital structure including a debt partner who also participated in the equity, Stephanie and CoVestia Capital Partners (a co-investment fund for which Jim is General Partner). The transaction closed in June of 2007 and Stone-Goff immediately went to work leading the investor group and working with Stephanie towards enhanced growth.
Over the course of seven years, Thymes gained a new CEO, Anne Sempowski-Ward, a P&G veteran with a respected track record and a creative vision for the future. Stone-Goff and Anne greatly enhanced the profitability of the Thymes and they established numerous new pillars of growth. In 2014, Thymes again turned to Jim and his team to find a new home for the company. In December 2014, Troy Stanfield of Stanfield Capital combined forces with Castanea Partners and Northstar Capital to become (along with Anne), the sole owners of the Thymes.
Jim and Adeel did an amazing job holding the process together. In addition to the usual ups and downs of a transaction, they had to navigate my transition from Castanea Partners to Stanfield Capital. Through it all they kept everyone at the table and instilled confidence in all parties that the deal would get done
I was able to work with Jim and his team from three different perspectives: when they were selling the business to me, as co-investors and when we all exited the investment. From all three perspectives, I can say it was a rewarding and valuable experience and, at each juncture, their work was always designed around our specific needs.
Today, the Thymes is part of CURIO as a result of Troy and Anne successfully purchasing DPM. CURIO is one of the largest and most respected artisanal scented products companies in the country.