Stoehr invests in designer clothing company

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:39 pm

Badger Pacific Equity Partners, whose co-founder and managing partner is Milwaukee area native Craig Stoehr, recently acquired almost 25 percent of San Francisco-based Blue Marlin Corp., a leading designer of international vintage sport clothing.

Stoehr will join the company’s five-member board of directors.

It is an unusual acquisition for Badger Pacific, which plans to invest $500 million in equity capital in real estate-related projects, including several in the Milwaukee area. So far, Stoehr and his partners, California real estate investors Frank Andrews Jr. and David Stroud, have invested about $10 million in three Milwaukee-area properties.

“We do due some other things that are non-real estate from time to time,” Stoehr said. “Opportunistically, we’re not looking for other types of investments, but if you know somebody or someone happens to be in a certain situation you want to take a look at.”

Stoehr and Erik Stuebe, president and founder of Blue Marlin, were roommates at the University of Minnesota in 1986. In 1999, Stoehr became a personal investor in the company.

“We think it’s a great opportunity because we got it at a substantial discount, (and) there’s a lot of growth opportunity,” Stoehr said.

Badger is now the second-largest shareholder of Blue Marline, next to Stuebe.

“Where I had a financial interest, now I have a much larger one,” Stoehr said. “(But) it’s a passive investment. It was just an opportunity to acquire a block of shares.”

Stoehr said he may incorporate Blue Marlin’s clothing in the Milwaukee Mile, which Badger Pacific now manages.

“Mostly, the focus is being an investor and board member, strategically along with the other board members thinking, ‘How do we grow the businessω”‘ Stoher said. “I hope that I can bring some general business, strategic marketing perspective that isn’t rooted in the fashion or apparel business but sometimes that’s good, because if you look at the other members of the board, they have a lot of apparel industry experience.”

Blue Marlin has received a boost from celebrities who have been photographed in magazines wearing the company’s clothes. The company has only paid one celebrity, rapper/dancer Kevin Federline, to wear the line for a photo shoot, Stoehr said.

“Regardless of what your thoughts are on any celebrity, they’re in the media,” Stoehr said.

The company targets two market segments. Its Blue Marlin clothing line is geared toward the older, sophisticated consumer who’s in his or her late 20s to 40s. Its Five Star clothing line is geared toward younger consumers because of its edgier, louder nature, Stoehr said.

Stoehr said his ultimate goal is to grow Blue Marlin large enough so it is an appealing candidate to be acquired by a larger company.

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