Kelly McPhilliamy

CEW Treasurer; Managing Director, Health & Beauty Lead

Harris Williams

How does your company support indie brands?
Harris Williams helps growing independent brands reach their fullest potential by providing M&A advisory services and positioning their companies to attract attention from strategic buyers and private equity groups. The brands we represent are diverse but have one thing in common: a creative vision backed up by tons of hard work. The transactions we facilitate range from minority investments, to majority investments, to the purchase of a business in its entirety.

A particular challenge for indie brands is bringing on outside partners to accelerate growth while retaining a stake in the business and the potential to benefit from its future success. We listen to our clients and help them solidify their goals, evaluate their options, and find the right investors or buyers.

What is something that indie brands might not understand or know about your company?
Plenty! The world of M&A and investment banking can seem pretty mysterious to the uninitiated. One thing indie brands may not realize about Harris Williams is that we develop relationships with companies well in advance of advising them on a transaction – sometimes even years in advance. Another surprising fact is the number of repeat clients we have. We have helped numerous clients go to market more than once, working with them over decades to find the best partners for each stage of their growth.

More personally, indie brands might be surprised at the range of landmark industry deals for both global giants and industry disruptors I’ve had the good fortune to work on. Notable deals over my career include advising Colgate-Palmolive on its acquisition of EltaMD, Gotha Cosmetics on its majority sale to Capvis Partners, Dermstore on its sale to Target, and leading the IPOs of Ulta Beauty and elf Beauty.

What advice do you have for indie brands?
It is more important than ever to be distinct and authentic. Stay focused on your vision, and don’t get distracted by every opportunity coming at you. You will create more value with focus and strong execution on your core.