The lingerie market is still in flux, and the acquisitions continue to roll on.
The latest is by Ariela & Associates LLC, the 26-year-old privately held intimates apparel manufacturer, which has agreed to purchase lingerie company Curvy Couture for an undisclosed amount.
“This is a new era for women in business and I am thrilled that Curvy Couture will continue to be women-owned,” Ariela Esquenazi, founder, chief executive officer and president of Ariela & Associates said in a statement. “I look forward to what the future holds, driven by our varied and unique core competencies and shared vision of empowering curvy women with confidence and style.”
Ariela & Associates sells more than 60 million garments each year under national brand names like Fruit of the Loom and Smart & Sexy, according to the company’s web site.
Curvy Couture, which was started by Dora Lau in 2012, offers bras in up to an H cup and can be found at department stores and a number of smaller boutiques.
“I am looking forward to a new future for Curvy Couture as [Ariela & Associates] takes this much-loved brand to the next level,” Lau said.
While a number of lingerie brands offer a larger assortment of bra sizes — brands like Adore Me, ThirdLove and Savage x Fenty — the selection of larger bra sizes was still relatively scarce in 2012. Some of today’s most popular digital brands didn’t even exist then.
Lau, who also founded Dora L International Inc., an intimates apparel vendor, in 1991, and has served as the company’s ceo and president for 18 years, said she created Curvy Couture “for the woman who knows she deserves intimates that are beautiful, comfortable, sophisticated and supportive. Wearing a Curvy Couture bra makes you feel sexy and confident, knowing that you look your best.”
But the Curvy Couture acquisition is a sign of another evolution — of an industry that is steadily reshaping itself.
As women’s intimates apparel giant Victoria’s Secret continues to lose market share, it has done a number of things to curb losses. Like off-loading intimates company La Senza last December for an undisclosed amount to to private equity firm Regent LP.
But not all sales of lingerie companies are created equally. Some are desirable. In July, Wacoal America purchased digital lingerie start-up Lively for $85 million. At the time, Wacoal said the deal benefited both parties, allowing Wacoal to learn from Lively’s digital prowess, while the digital brand was able to scale with Wacoal’s sizable infrastructure.
Meanwhile, a number of other digital brands are entering the intimates industry, hoping to grab market share from the Angels. Still, other brands are expanding. Veteran intimates retailer Soma Intimates, which is owned Chico’s FAS, created TellTale last April, a digital lingerie brand, with the aim of attracting Millennial and Gen Z shoppers to the company.
According to the terms of the Curvy Couture purchase, Lau will relinquish her role as ceo, but will continue to lead the design team. Lau is also being honored later this month at the 64th annual HUG Gala, an intimates apparel and swimwear industry event that raises money for charity.
In addition, Evora Griffith Russell from Dora L. International will join Ariela & Associates as its vice president of sales and marketing for Curvy Couture, along with other members of the marketing team.