Victoria’s Secret Takes $18 Million Stake in Californian Swimwear Brand Frankies Bikinis

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Diving Brief:

  • Victoria’s Secret announced on Friday a $18 million investment for a minority stake in Venice, Calif., beachwear brand Frankies Bikinis.

  • The decade-old brand was founded by Francesca Aiello when she was a teenager and her mother, Mimi Aiello, according to a Victoria’s Secret Press release.

  • Victoria’s Secret swimwear reintroduced to its assortment three years ago, after finding that its decision to eliminate this merchandise had hurt sales.

Overview of the dive:

Victoria’s Secret fumbled when it decided to leave the swimwear category, and eventually returned to the segment, first online only, then in stores as well. With the investment in Frankies Bikinis, the retailer not only expands its swimwear offering, but also continues its recent shift towards female empowerment messages.

“Our investment in Frankies Bikinis continues our efforts to expand partnerships with culturally relevant brands founded by female entrepreneurs,” Victoria’s Secret CEO Martin Waters said in a statement.

In a statement, Frankies founder and creative director Francesca Aiello said the Victoria’s Secret kingpin impressed her.

“I have such respect for the transformation that Victoria’s Secret has made over the past few years, especially with diversity and inclusiveness, and I believe that together we can continue to bring a new wave of fashion to the world. ‘swimwear industry for all women of all shapes, sizes and walks of life’, she says. “With Victoria’s Secret by our side, Frankies Bikinis will continue to deliver our signature collections that encourage customers to explore their personal style and create unique looks that make them feel more confident.”

Despite the erosion of its market share in recent years, Victoria’s Secret remains the world leader in the lingerie category, and its scale will allow the growth of Frankies Bikinis. The company sells directly to customers online and through several retailers, including Victoria’s Secret.

Francesca Aiello “has created an ambitious beachwear brand and trend leader in the swimwear category, with the ability to grow and expand into new categories and attract new customers in the direct channel at consumer,” Waters said.

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