Prep Apparel Brand Johnnie-O Lands $108M Investment

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Prep Apparel Brand Johnnie-O Lands $108M Investment
Courtesy of johnnie-O

Santa Monica-based men's apparel brand Johnnie-O—which markets casual West Coast-style apparel, right down to its surfer logo—has brought on its first institutional investors to help propel its growth.

Earlier this week, the brand announced it had secured a $108 million investment from Los Angeles-based Ares Management as well as Wasatch Global Investors, giving the private equity firms a minority stake in the company.

"We are delighted to partner with such high caliber firms as Wasatch and Ares as we continue to grow our brand and community and build the next great iconic American brand," Dave Gatto, CEO of Johnnie-O, said in a press release.

John O'Donnell, the brother of Hollywood actor Chris O’Donnell, first launched the company in 2005. Johnnie-O started off selling preppy polo shirts but has since branched off into a whole range of casual men's apparel, drawing fans like former NFL quarterback Drew Brees and "Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier.

“You’ve seen these other brands that have had a meteoric growth because X, Y, Z celebrity wore it. But down to the actual product line, it wasn’t all that great and it crashed just as fast as it rose,” John O'Donnell told the Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “The celebrity has been a bonus for us. Of course, I lean on my brother Chris, but I never lean on him too much because I don’t want it to be too contrived.”

Johnnie-O said its sales increased more than 80% in 2021. Last year, the brand opened up its first U.S. brick-and-mortar retail store in Forth Worth, Texas, and has since expanded to three more locations in Newport, R.I., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Miramar Beach, Fla.

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