Mahabis rescued by mattress entrepreneur, sees huge potential
Failed Millennials-focused high-end slipper brand Mahabis has been rescued. Less than a month after it filed for administration, the label that thought differently about the slipper market, has been acquired by an entrepreneur who made a big impact by thinking differently about the mattress market.
Mahabis has been acquired by James Cox, the co-founder of mattress firm Simba Sleep who is also co-head of ‘boutique’ investment specialist YYX Capital.
He will take over as interim CEO at the company, which employs 16 people, all of whose jobs are now safe. Cox is also working on a new plan to overhaul marketing as well as the product.
Mahabis was founded in 2014 on a relatively simple concept, but one that hadn't been tried before. It made woollen slippers that also come with detachable rubber soles to enable them to be worn outdoors. They retail at around £70 a pair and the company claims to have sold almost one million pairs in its four-year existence.
Cox thinks there's plenty of potential to grow its sales and said that “there’s no reason Mahabis can’t be like Ugg.” He even thinks there's an opportunity for it to be a £100 million business in five years’ time.
So what are his plans? Obviously, we don't know those in detail just yet. But we do know that he wants to widen distribution and said he'll partner with retailers to make the brand available in a range of channels, including physical stores. And given his other business interests, it's perhaps no surprise that he’s planning a link with Simba Sleep to create exclusive co-branded slippers.
Clearly, there’s still life in the brand despite its recent problems. In fact, administrators at KRE Corporate Recovery said that they received over 70 expressions of interest in buying it.
Cox and YYX won the race because they “showed a real understanding of the business and had a very clear strategy on how to grow Mahabis while retaining its core team and unique corporate culture.”
And what about the brand’s founder Ankur Shah? He'll no longer be involved, but has given the new owner a tentative thumbs-up. “We achieved an enormous amount in a very short space of time,” he said. “Whilst the decision to go in to administration was a difficult one, this was a great outcome for both employees and suppliers. I now plan to pursue other projects, I hope YYX can propel the brand in new and exciting directions.”
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