How Do You Position Your Brand for Acquisition?

18.21 Man Made is a men’s grooming product line that grew out of a demand for quality products for men at a time when this was not readily available, at least in the area the founders resided, Texas. The founders were running a professional distribution for hair salons, but could not find a strong offering for male products.

After six years of quality brand development and amazing design efforts 18.21 Man Made was acquired by New World Natural Brands. Creating products from quality ingredients with integrity has unmeasurable value to consumers and the key beauty players alike.

Below is the progression of how a men’s brand jumped to the next level with resources and foundation to expedite their growth trajectory.

Interview with 18.21 Man Made #achievementarchives

Q – Kimberly Pederson, Interviewer: Tell us how the acquisition began?

Q – Angel del Solar, Founder: As a brand we were exhibiting at trade shows to increase brand exposure and distribution. New World Natural Brands (NWNB) approached us at our booth at the Indie Beauty Show.  They were visiting the show with the intent to acquire some more beauty brands, especially in the Men’s category.

Q – KP: How did this come about, was 18.21 open to acquisition or did the opportunity pursue 18.21?

Q – AS: The team at 18.21 Man Made at the time has started the communication that we would like to have a partner and a great deal of interest came from firms that saw the potential of 18.21, but needed us to be at 10M in sales to fit their minimum criteria to be considered.  Meaning, we had the big fishes interested but our sales were not there yet. In addition, we knew a minimum price we were comfortable and able to move forwarded with in conjunction with some strategical and financial support to take the brand to the next level.

NWNB team had a strong background on the financial side and after 6 months of negotiation we did not agree on the price. During this process we learned about our goal selling price and EBITDA [Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] that will help us secure a partner like NWNB. We continued to communicate with NWNB and shared our progress. This was a valuable move, as 6 months later they asked if we would be interested in revisiting the negotiation table. Through hard work with their team we were able to hit the sales goal and the EBITDA that was required to attain our selling price for 18.21 Man Made.

A term of the sale that was important to us is the ability to have more tools and team members to enable 18.21 to grow to its true potential. The original three founders continue to run the day to day management, sales, marketing, new product development and brand education for 18.21 Man Made. In addition we did keep 40% of the selling prices on stock on NWNB, now we own a part of a larger company.

Q – KP: Leading up to this, what channels were the majority of your sales coming from?

Q – AS: 18.21 Man Made origins is in the professional channel in the US, where our expertise is strong. We did pioneer Amazon Professional US one of the 5 brands Amazon used to launch this program. At the time of acquisition we just started our retail expansion into ULTA Stores.  Internationally, we did have some small representation with a partner in Nederland, EU Norther Countries, Poland and Australia.

Q – KP:  Was this strategic from the beginning or along the way did this path become clear to succeed?

Q – AS: We knew what our capabilities were from the start and a future partner was a goal we knew we would need. Up until this point all had been accomplished with our own money. We all contributed $15000 and never looked back…no loans no help, just reinvested the money, worked hard and kept learning, all with small salaries and big dreams. I feel we got to live the American dream of doing something from nothing. Of course, we all have many different talents and experiences that made the almost impossible possible.

Q – KP: What would you say the key factor are about the brand that made it a desirable purchase?

Q – AS:

  • The human capital, the founders.
  • How appealing the brand is for consumers.
  • Strong sales and EBITDA.
  • The channels they sale on and those relationships.
  • Potential of growth on other channels.
  • Social Following.

Q – KP: During these uncertain times, what is your prediction about demand in 2021?

Q – AS: We are working hard on our direct to consumer strategy.  Based on our experience this year with COVID 19, having a strong platform for consumers to get educated and purchase 18.21 is important when many channels are completely closed.

We feel like 18.21 can have a tremendous growth internationally. The response we experienced at trade shows last year with California Pavilion in Cosmoprof Bologna, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Las Vegas on our own was positive. We have planned some strong distribution partners out of all of these shows that we are in the process of launching.

I think demand will pick up but companies that didn’t have a base may need to work extra hard. Many brands entered the beauty segment prior to COVID 19, it will take new ideas and agility to navigate a startup during this pandemic.  Creating brand awareness and a social following will be critical.

End of interview.

In Closing

All sales situations will have variants, the above account is brought to you with the hope of offering and highlighting some key factors that can move your brand closer to its goals. It’s worth noting the last piece of guidance founder, Angel Del Solar, mentions regarding increasing efforts on the direct to consumer front. With the current situation of Covid 19 and no definitive end in sight, as an industry we must take this time to reinvent what that means for a brand and what the best medium to communicate with the consumer base now is.

The only option is for brands to embrace and pump up efforts in that area. During quarentine, eCommerce has become more important than ever before. Brands must leverage eCommerce to create deeper customer relationships, this will help safeguard a brand during this economic downturn.

The landscape is changing rapidly and what was once controlled by a handful of legacy brands with majority market share is opening up today more than ever.

To learn more from Angel del Solar and 18.21 Man Made, visit him on the many socials he engages with: Do not miss a great live event on Instagram every Tuesday at 8:00pm Central time.

Kimberly Pederson

Kimberly first got a taste of international e-commerce when she interned at the Center for International Trade Development while working on her statistics and economics degree at California State University, Long Beach. Here, she had the opportunity to assist with the organization of a California Pavilion at an International Beauty Trade Show.

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How Do You Position Your Brand for Acquisition?