While M&A activity has been down in 2023 so far, FullBeauty Brands has been bullish on acquisitions.
With the purchase of Cuup, all of the brand’s employees became FullBeauty employees, though Cuup’s co-founder Kearnon O’Molony will not be joining the company, according to details shared with Retail Dive. Cuup co-founder Abby Morgan left the chief marketing officer position at Cuup in April 2022, according to LinkedIn.
FullBeauty’s purchase of Cuup went “very quickly,” FullBeauty CEO Jim Fogarty told Retail Dive.
“This would not be average. ... The needs of the situation, it was important that we move fast,” the executive said. “If you’ve done acquisitions before you get a little bit more credibility.”
Both acquisitions are part of FullBeauty’s goal to attract younger consumers, which has not historically been the company’s core customer demographic, Fogarty added. Both Eloquii and Cuup also share the same focus on sizing inclusivity and innovation that FullBeauty has.
“We wanted to expand into taking care of more of the addressable market and in particular, moving a little lower toward Gen X and millennials,” the executive said. “A lot of businesses will try to take their existing brands and go younger, we knew that that was not ever the way to do it.”
FullBeauty operates a portfolio of brands all focused on inclusive sizing, including Catherines, Woman Within and Jessica London. Though Cuup already has wide-ranging bra sizes, the parent company thinks it can potentially expand Cuup’s band size offerings.
“Cuup was a brand that was similarly focused on hard-to-fit size or size aspects that weren't being dealt with well,” Fogarty said. “They have cracked the code on having a great product that they would describe it as sexy for the woman, not sexy for the man.”
Cuup will join FullBeauty’s digital mall that also houses Eloquii, June+Vie and Swimsuits for All. At the moment, Cuup, Swimsuits for All, June+Vie and Eloquii all sell swimwear in addition to other offerings. All the brands also sell intimates except for Eloquii.
“I think we will clean up some of that shared product,” Fogarty said of the overlap between the brands.
Prior to FullBeauty’s latest acquisitions, the company bought Catherines in a bid for $41 million in 2020. The move came after FullBeauty entered and exited bankruptcy within 24 hours in February 2019.
Leading to the bankruptcy, FullBeauty’s inventory and gross margins weren’t being properly managed, though the company has since reset its merchandise assortments and re-evaluated its inventory purchases, Fogarty previously told Retail Dive.
“We're fortunate to have a nice-sized business that has low capital expenditure requirements,” Fogarty said. “We've also returned with dividends to our shareholders, so you're always trying to look for opportunities to invest back in your own business. ... Our board's very supportive, particularly as the macro environment is tough. That's a great time to be acquiring businesses to make us stronger.”