Seraphine, the London-based premium maternity-wear brand, has been acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners and its management in a deal that values the business at £50m.
The move will enable founder Cécile Reinaud, who is said to have made £20m from the sale, to retire from the business.
CEO David Williams, along with the management team, and Mayfair Equity Partners bought out Reinaud and former backer Bridgepoint Growth. Williams joined the business from ASOS as COO in 2017 and stepped up to the CEO role in 2019; at the time Reinaud stepped back into a part time role.
The fast-growing business was founded in 2002 and since 2017 Bridgepoint has held a majority stake.
Seraphine filled a gap in the market for high quality, fashionable but affordable maternitywear, with a chic French aesthetic, and hit the headlines when it became a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, along with a number of other high profile celebrities.
The business operates via e-commerce along with dedicated boutiques in Kensington, Clapham, Marylebone, John Lewis Oxford Street and Victoria Quarter, Leeds. Internationally there are stores in New York, Paris, Dubai, Hong Kong and New Delhi.
With Williams’ digital expertise – he was digital experience director at ASOS – the business has been also been adding and growing digital focused partnerships with brands such as John Lewis, Macy’s, The Iconic, Zalando, and Zalora, facilitating a new global reach and it now sells to 127 countries around the world.
Seraphine’s revenue has been growing at around 30% per annum. Today around 90% of the business’ sales come through online channels, which have benefited from the acceleration in e-commerce adoption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With 74% of sales now outside of the UK, the company won the Queens Award for Enterprise for a second time in 2020 (after previously doing so in 2015).
Reinaud said of the deal: “I’m delighted that Seraphine is backed by a new investor and will continue its exciting growth journey. Bridgepoint has been incredibly supportive for the last three and a half years and I am now handing over Seraphine to its amazingly talented management team under the leadership of David Williams. As the brand founder I am very proud of the achievements of Seraphine and delighted that my early entrepreneurial vision has blossomed into a global brand loved by mothers all over the globe.”
Williams added: “The global annual market for maternity wear is now more than £5 billion. Seraphine is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this with our expanding digital footprint and in-house product team, who design innovative, quality products for mums at every stage of the maternity journey.
“Over the last few years, we have strengthened our service proposition, marketing, technology and logistics and now have the perfect platform for the next stage of our impressive growth. We have been very selective about who we partner with and have been incredibly fortunate to have found both Bridgepoint and Mayfair. We thank Bridgepoint for all of their support and look forward to the next chapter of our growth story in partnership with Mayfair.”
Mayfair Equity Partners said its backing would enable Seraphine to accelerate its growth in the UK and internationally. Partner Daniel Sasaki said: “With its depth of range, market leading innovation, and premium brand positioning Seraphine has grown to become a scale specialist maternity and nursing brand with a digitally led business model.
“By investing more in digitally led growth, specialist product innovation, and increased brand marketing, we will be backing the Seraphine team to accelerate their growth in the UK, Europe and US. We are thrilled to be partnering with David and the Seraphine team.”
Listen to our July 2020 podcast with Cécile Reinaud here.
Read our February 2020 interview with David Williams here.