- Direct-to-consumer lingerie brand Adore Me has acquired nearly 20-year-old maternity brand Belabumbum for an undisclosed amount, Iris Voltaire, business and brand development manager at Adore Me, told Retail Dive in an interview.
- The company sees a lot of opportunity within what Voltaire said is a maternity apparel market expected to reach $7 billion by 2023. As a leader in the space, selling wholesale to Nordstrom, Macy's and Lord & Taylor, Belabumbum also provides category expertise, Voltaire said. Belabumbum ships about 10,000 orders per month.
- Belabumbum, with about five employees based in Washington, D.C., will continue to operate independently and no jobs are expected to be cut, Voltaire said. The brand, which will benefit from Adore Me's growing team, production capacity and new New Jersey distribution center, may move to New York, where Adore Me is based.
Adore Me has made some ambitious moves within the last few months to plant its flag in an increasingly competitive lingerie market crowded by digitally native peers like ThirdLove, Lively and True & Co, as well as stalwart Victoria's Secret. Quickly scaling — both online and in-stores — may be the key to standing out. The lingerie brand hopes the acquisition will allow Belabumbum to grow into what Adore Me is today, Voltaire said, noting that Adore Me in 2012 raked in $1 million and now pulls in $110 million annually.
"This is the start and we're keen to see how it goes," Voltaire said, "In the end, Adore Me is trying still to be a disruptor in the lingerie market and it's changing really fast, and we hope this will make us even stronger."
The acquisition is also about product expansion and customer acquisition. Exactly how the two brands will collaborate, including whether Belabumbum products will be integrated into Adore Me's growing store fleet or how it would roll out a subscription service, are still being considered.
"Since we are direct-to-consumer we have all the information about our customers," Voltaire said. "If let's say a nursing mom, [her] baby is big enough so she stops breastfeeding, for example, it would be a natural fit for her to become an Adore Me customer afterward. So we hope we can create synergies and be there for women throughout the life stages." While Adore Me's core customers are women between the ages of 24 to 36, Voltaire says she hopes the acquisition will offer up a wider base.
From the start, the company has had a loyal customer base buying plus sizes, which make up around 25% of the assortment, Voltaire said. That's a competitive advantage as others like ThirdLove look to expand their sizing.
This year, the company is pushing to roll out between 10 to 15 stores, with three set to open in March in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Chloe Chanudet, executive vice president of marketing at the company, told Retail Dive in January. The company's first stores debuted in New York and New Jersey, and it's plotting up to 300 over the next five years.
"Our strategy for retail is really testing to see what's working and not. We're looking to see how would the customers react to a showroom style store," Voltaire said. The company is also on the hunt for international expansion. For over a year now, the brand has been selling in Canada, the U.K. and Australia, and executives are in talks to enter the Chinese market.