NEW YORK, July 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Wacoal International Corporation (WIC), parent company of Wacoal America, Inc., announced today, the acquisition of Intimates Online, Inc., best known as the brand LIVELY; the digitally native and size inclusive lingerie brand founded by Victoria's Secret alum, Michelle Cordeiro Grant. MMG Advisors Inc., a specialized investment banking and advisory firm servicing the consumer products, retail and fashion industries, represented Wacoal in the acquisition.
Wacoal is an intimates' category leader, and dominant premier brand in US department and specialty stores, with a flagship boutique located at The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. Founded in Japan in 1949 by Koichi Tsukamoto and launched in America in 1985, Wacoal has perfected the art of intimates over the past 70 years with exceptional design, manufacturing capabilities, and business infrastructure. Fit is a cornerstone tenet of the Wacoal brand, embodied through the prioritization of technical innovation, the sourcing of high-quality materials, and a focus on the evolving consumer through millions of bra fittings on real women. The brand's focus on fit goes beyond the product, and extends to community, through a national team of expert fit consultants who support customers with styles that work best for their body type and lifestyle.
Launched in 2016, LIVELY, a digitally native brand with retail stores in New York and Chicago, prides itself on the vast community of over 80,000 ambassadors that founder, Michelle Cordeiro Grant, built through social networking services and digital media marketing methods. To date, LIVELY has raised $15 million in venture capital funding, including a $6.5 million Series A investment from GGV Capital, NF Ventures (Gelmart International), and former Nautica CEO Harvey Sanders. LIVELY's first investor was NF Ventures, led by Gelmart International, the intimate apparel manufacturer, which built a factory for LIVELY to help streamline supply chain, support-innovation, and flexibility for scale.
The acquisition will see the confluence of complementary core values and synergies between Wacoal and LIVELY, positioning both brands to compete in the evolving intimates market. LIVELY brings an expansive community of engaged millennial customers, which differ from the core of Wacoal's current base, enabling both brands to capture future growth through e-commerce and digital marketing methods. LIVELY will also gain access to Wacoal's design and manufacturing resources and distribution channels, while both brands will benefit from aligned corporate values to expand business outside the United States through the Wacoal International group network.
"The LIVELY brand has worldwide business potential that may be achieved with Wacoal corporate support globally," said Bob Vitale, president and CEO of Wacoal America. "As one of the digitally native brands that are positively disrupting the US intimates' business, LIVELY has quickly established an incredible following. Our collaboration with LIVELY will no doubt result in dramatic sales growth and market share gains in the Americas, enabling both brands to engage and win the important millennial customer, and market more effectively in the evolving digital world. We are very excited to welcome LIVELY to the Wacoal family."
Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Founder and CEO of LIVELY, who will remain in her role beyond the acquisition, commented, "We built LIVELY to inspire women to live life passionately, purposefully, and confidently. We invest in our community and customers to empower them to celebrate their individuality and enable them with products to look and feel their best. Wacoal's core values have a beautiful synergy with LIVELY's, enabling us to come together, not just to take market share, but to also create market share. We are so proud to be joining such an incredible organization and look forward to the positive impact we can make together for our customers and communities around the world."
ABOUT WACOAL AMERICA
Established in 1985, Wacoal America is the leading lingerie brand that women trust for fit, quality, and comfort for a wide range of body types from petites through I cup. Cultivated by over 30 years of expertise and dedication to their craft, Wacoal has pioneered the art of bra fitting, and today, their expert fit consultants help women find the sizes that make them look and feel beautiful. Never satisfied with the status quo, their designers keep a finger on the pulse of the fashion industry and are always looking for new and better ways to deliver beautiful bras that meet the expectations of modern women for comfort, quality, and performance. Wacoal's commitment to women extends beyond the design studio and into the community, where they support the fight against breast cancer through their longstanding partnership with Susan G. Komen®. Follow us on social for the latest updates: Facebook (@Wacoal) and Instagram (@WacoalAmerica).
LIVELY is inspired by what we believe makes women sexy today; smart, healthy, and confident. We started our conversation with bras and undies that blur the aesthetic lines of lingerie, active, and swim, taking the best elements of high-style and ultimate comfort from each category. We are establishing an entirely new category and POV of lingerie, a movement that we call Leisurée. Since launching in 2016, we have expanded into seven additional categories including loungewear, active bras, and swimwear, and have also grown our community to over 80,000 Brand Ambassadors. More than product, LIVELY is a mindset that reminds, empowers, and enables us all to live life doing what we love, with the people we love. Follow us on social for the latest updates: Facebook (@wearlively) and Instagram (@wearlively).
SOURCE Wacoal International Corporation