UK retailer Alliance Boots has reportedly acquired the beauty brand Soap & Glory for an undisclosed sum.
Bliss spa and FitFlop creator Marcia Kilgore founded Soap & Glory in 2004 and since then the brand has become best known for its range of affordable bath, body and skincare products, which are sold in appealing retro packaging and have catchy names such as “The Righteous Butter”, “Hand Food” and “Drama Clean”. Alliance Boots began stocking the Soap & Glory brand in 2006 and, since then, it has become one of the brand’s biggest distributors and it has enjoyed exclusive distribution rights in the UK.
Alliance Boots’ acquisition of the brand should not come as too much of a surprise as it has publicly attributed its leading market positions in the beauty and toiletries categories (which accounted for 35% of Boots UK’s revenue in the year ended 31 March 2014) to Soap & Glory: “Our…exclusive ranges such as Soap & Glory…enable us to differentiate our retail offering from that of our competitors and continue to be very important drivers of revenue and margin”. In the press release that accompanied its annual results this year, it alluded to the “good growth” that had been “achieved in indulgent bathing, with Soap & Glory… performing well”. These factors clearly influenced Boots to exercise a call option to buy the brand which it reportedly had held since 2011 when it acquired a minority stake in the company.
Soap & Glory is the second successful company that Kilgore has established and then sold. She previously sold the spa brand Bliss which she set up in the mid-nineties in 2004 for a reported $25 million. In 2007, Kilgore founded her third successful brand, FitFlop, which makes ergonomic shoes that claim to tone legs when they are walked in. With sales of the shoes reportedly in the millions, it will be interesting to see if Kilgore will look to sell the company and if she has another successful idea for a company up her sleeve.
While some brand owners will maintain and nurture the brand throughout its lifetime, others, like Kilgore, prefer to sell a brand once it is successful to focus on the next one. Those with serial entrepreneurial tendencies should make sure that their company structure, tax structure, and employment policies are properly set up for a smooth and successful sale.