Two market-leading swimsuit companies, Maaji of Colombia and Seafolly of Australia, and being combined into what controlling shareholder L Catterton Asia is calling a “global swimwear and beach lifestyle platform.”
L Catterton Asia, formerly known as L Capital and now the regional arm of U.S. consumer-focused private equity firm L Catterton, facilitated the move with a $50 million USD investment into Maaji, according to the Straits Times of Singapore.
While the controlling company stressed that it wants both brands to maintain their identities, it said that this merger represents “the first step in the aggregation of the fragmented swimwear/beach wear industry.”
Photo: Maaji Swimwear collections presented at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2015 (Credit: James Santiago)
“With this unparalleled combination of Seafolly and Maaji, we look to grow our portfolio and create the largest independent house of beach lifestyle brands,” said Ravi Thakran, chairman and managing partner of L Catterton Asia. “The two brands are market leaders from two large, but distinct, beach destinations — Australia and Latin America — with each possessing a very unique style and positioning.”
Thakran said that the company had been planning to merge various firms in the industry dating back to its 2014 investment to acquire a controlling share in Seafolly. Combining it with the Medellín-based Maaji was the type of move the company has envisioned, and the chairman believes that the pairing will be help sales expand geographically and provide both sourcing and retail rollout benefits. “Maaji was the type of unique brand than we wanted to bring on board,” said Thakran. “This combination will drive many synergies.”
Sisters Manuela and Amelia Sierra founded Maaji and have sought to blend Colombian heritage with whimsical beachwear design since 2002. Now a large player in the Americas market, the brand touts that it is “made in Colombia with love” and is known for its colorful and reversible swimsuits that allow each item to feature different designs. Maaji’s bikinis have appeared on the runway at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue as well as in fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Shape, Seventeen, and Women’s Health.
Maaji’s products are now distributed in 54 countries, and it has 12 branded stores — in areas including Medellín, Bogotá, Cartagena, and Barranquilla — in addition to its presence with retailers including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus, Amazon, and Zappos. Its latest venture came last month in Cartagena with the launch of the “Maaji House,” a concept store intended to give customers a richer buying experience.
“This partnership is a critical step towards achieving our vision of positioning ourselves as a global beach lifestyle leader,” said Miguel Piedrahita, CEO of Maaji.
Seafolly CEO Anthony Halas shared a similar sentiment and looks forward to the economy-of-scale efficiencies that the combined brands can leverage. “This merger will create a unique and powerful offering on the global landscape,” said Halas. “With the backing of L Catterton Asia, we will gain access to their ability to source supplies, improve product distribution, and enhance retail channels.”