Amid increased interest in Australian brands and the beach apparel category, Australian women’s fashion brand Tigerlily is one phase closer to completing a sale from its current owners private equity company Crescent Capital, which is seeking to capitalise on the current market. This comes after Australian swimwear brand Seafolly was sold in mid-2023 for about $70 million to a mystery HK-registered entity, Bondi Brands Group, that was only incorporated in June 2023. Other Australian brands wer
ds were sold for lucrative amounts last year to international companies, including Advent International’s majority stake in women’s fashion label Zimmermann, reportedly for over $1 billion, Kao Corporation’s $450 million acquisition of beauty brand Bondi Sands and L’Oreal’s $3.7 billion acquisition of luxe beauty brand Aesop. Deloitte was appointed to assist with the sale of Tigerlily in October 2023, and the brand is now in the second stage of due diligence with the prospective parties engaged in the purchasing process. Final offers are likely to be reached in late February. Creating Tigerlily from Billabong Tigerlily was spun out from Billabong, and under Crescent Capital’s ownership, separate systems and internal resourcing were developed, which enabled the brand to grow.Making Tigerlily a stand-alone business, with feasible further growth potential and an emphasis on being a digital-first retail brand, were the key milestones Crescent wanted to achieve before listing and completing the sale of the business. Travis Wright, Tigerlily CEO told Inside Retail, “When I joined Tigerlily in 2021, the goal was to significantly grow the online channel in efforts to become digital-first which was achieved in FY23.” With the key milestones met, combined with interest in the market for swim and resort brands, Crescent felt the time was right for a new owner to support the business in its next phase of growth. The sale process formally kicked off in the final quarter of 2023. Receivership to robust revenue In 2021, Wright was appointed CEO and has led the business to profitability through an overhaul of operations in all facets of the business. After navigating voluntary receivership, which the brand entered in 2020, Wright has led Tigerlily’s revenue in an upward trajectory. In 2023 Wright announced that the business achieved its goal of being digital-first last year with 44 per cent of revenue coming from online channels, which accounted for 23 per cent of overall growth. Tigerlily currently operates 10 Australian retail boutiques and distributes products globally via 40 wholesale partners. With an inevitable sale by Crescent, the question is whether Tigerlily will maintain its upward trajectory with the leader who picked the fashion brand up off the cutting room floor and turned it into a profitable operation? “I’ve put so much into rebuilding the brand the last two years, I’d love to stay on board to see Tigerlily reach its full potential. We’ve made it to a turning point as a business and are poised for growth locally and internationally – the real excitement begins in the next chapter of Tigerlily,” Wright told Inside Retail. What’s generating buzz from buyers? Tigerlily’s Australian roots are alluring to prospective buyers and its proven international potential is driving lucrative offers. US online sales grew more than 300 per cent in FY23 compared to FY22. A mere year after launching the US website, results in January were up over 100 per cent year-on-year, which indicates the opportunity to scale further. “The US market is just the first market we’ve executed on, the rest of the world awaits. A new buyer will have the opportunity to take the brand global across all three channels – online, retail and wholesale,” said Wright. Despite tumultuous economic conditions, Tigerlily signalled its strength as a brand through continued growth in the last two years. Wright credits the brand’s value proposition in the market to its focus on creating eco-conscious products using recycled and low-impact materials where possible, in addition to the unique hand-drawn prints that are designed in-house. Tapping into international markets is a focal point of the brand going forward. “Over the last two years our team has been hyper-focused on stabilising the brand and scaling online, there is still so much untapped potential in the wholesale and retail arms of the business,” said Wright. The brand’s successful turnaround under Wright’s leadership can be attributed to a few key decisions that made the operations more cost-effective and versatile. Placing the right people in the right roles was also a factor that allowed the fashion brand to flourish. In November 2021, a shift from a larger ERP system to a more cost-effective structure allowed Tigerlily to grow digitally without roadblocks. The introduction of fall and winter collections in tandem with the international expansion strategy supported year-round revenue. “We have an incredible team and the success Tigerlily has had in the last few years is a testament to their talent and hard work,” said Wright.