Wacoal International Corporation, parent company of Wacoal America, Inc., announced 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 US$ 15 million in venture capital funding, including a US$ 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.”