(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). The troubled story of Huit, the French lingerie and swim brand, may have just turned a lot sweeter as its new American owner has an aggressive plan to return the brand to prominence.
“I could not let this brand go,” declared Souad Sinai, the French born owner of the Absolutely Lingerie distributorship, who told BODY she just acquired Huit at a French court auction May 27th. “I strongly believe it is a good investment. It has potential.”
One of the challenges for Sinai is that Huit has had, in addition to her, five separate owners (and gone into reorganization, a French equivalent of bankruptcy, almost as many times), over the past decade.
The confidence that she can make a winner out of Huit comes from several factors according to Sinai. Absolutely Lingerie is “a well established distribution company in the North American market that has the capacity to distribute Huit” to its current clientele. She has distributed Huit in the past and emphasized that “people love this brand and have been so disappointed” with each reversal and disappearance of product from the marketplace.
Through her work over two decades as distributor of several other high end brands, such as Valery, Mimi Holliday, Ritratti, and as the creator of her own brand, Addiction Nouvelle Lingerie, Sinai has gained enormous experience in the lingerie business and believes she knows how to produce a brand and market it. “Product developments, production, marketing, wholesale, e-com, retail.”
Sinai also pointed to some of Huit’s past sales achievements as an indicator of what could be possible with a successful re-launch. “The brand generated 32 million euros in sales in 2005 and 7 million euros in 2016.”
Finally, the distributor is willing to “provide immediate financing to make success happen, and invest more as we go.” She admitted that at the recent auction “I spent more than what I was planning to acquire Huit, but I knew it was the right decision.” She declined to reveal that purchase price, but noted there were several other bidders with whom she was competing.
Sinai told BODY she plans the official re-launch of Huit for January 2020 at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, where she will be introducing the Fall Winter 2020 fashion collection.
Sinai said she plans to have Huit basics and four permanent collections available for sale early October 2019 “to cover immediate need. These collections will be available all year long. Price will remain the same.”
“It is important for us to keep brand identity, the DNA. We are planning to hire the same design team. The materials will be all sourced in Europe, laces will be made in France as before. The production will take place in Tunisia,” in the same factory which produced the collections previously.
“We are investing the money to make this company stronger. People have been disappointed in the past. I don’t want them to think it will happen again. We have the capacity to develop this brand.”
The recent changes in ownership began in 2010. Huit Diffusion filed for France’s equivalent of chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that year, and soon after it was acquired by Eveden. Eveden itself was acquired by Wacoal in 2012. In April 2016 Wacoal allowed its Eveden Huit subsidiary to again file a petition for reorganization in the court in Rennes, France. In July of 2016 Wacoal announced Huit had been sold to Trendy Capital, which itself owned the sleepwear brand, Canat. In May of 2017 Huit was again placed in receivership, and by October of the same year ownership was taken over by Textil Gramax Internacional, a division of Gramax Capital, an investment fund with offices in Germany and Switzerland.
According to Sinai, after Gramax failed to turn Huit around, the brand again ended up in reorganization with the court in Rennes. And it was there that she acquired it at the recent auction.
Sinai expectations go far beyond simply returning Huit to profitability. ‘I am currently working on a business plan with my advisors. We are going to develop the sales in the North American market through our distribution company and work with several distributors around the world. The e-commerce will be re-launched in the next four months. Once the numbers are up, we may consider bringing in investors.”— NM
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