Online fashion marketplace Archfashion has announced its acquisition of menswear retailer Kent & Lime, which last April called it quits.
Menswear label Kent & Lime is now open for business less than one year after it went into liquidation due to issues with cash flow. Archfashion says it swooped in to buy the Kent & Lime brand and its intellectual property two months later, back in June.
“We had been watching the business progress, with many of our friends using the service. We had no idea that they were in financial difficulty,” says David Butcher, director of both brands. “We loved the brand and what it stood for.”
“One of our shareholders alerted us to the closing and gave us the administrators details. We got in contact, had a chat with them and did a quick due diligence. We then put in an offer, and after some back and forward, we secured the brand and IP.”
Kent & Lime will operate as an online-only retailer, according to Butcher. “We are extremely proud of the speed with which we were able to relaunch the Kent & Lime online business, with a leading website, product range and back-end systems to power the operation.”
Butcher says the acquisition signals a shift in Archfashion’s strategy, shifting away from a low margin, high volume game with zero-touch distribution strategy towards a high touch higher value customer. “We’re really excited about the opportunities bringing these two brands together will create.”
The deal includes the Kent & Lime database, trademarks, product designs and technology. While Kent & Lime initially opted to initially dump its existing technology for Archfashion’s own proprietary software, the technology didn’t fulfil the promise, and many customers the company spoke to were disappointed with the service citing duplicate kits, feedback not being taken on board and having to start from scratch each time they spoke to a new stylist.
Through its own research from existing Kent & Lime customers and Arch’s analytics, the company saw a vast difference in the way men and women shop and the challenges that needed to be solved for male customers.
“Essentially, we help men who hate shopping or are too busy to shop, to look good and do more. That’s the Kent and Lime difference. We make it very, very easy.”
Previously run on a subscription model, Kent & Lime now sells a curated range of men’s clothing and accessories which are hand-picked by its personal stylists. To shop, customers go to kentandlime.com.au, type in their measurements and are also able to share their likes and dislikes of their shopping journey while they’re online as well.
The company says it has remained silent about the deal until now due as it wanted to spend time getting the web-operations right by talking to customers and brands.
“We don’t believe that subscription services are the way to go in the Australian market. We saw the numbers and the fundamental operating model of the business was not working,” says the managing director. “What we did believe in was the problem. We love solving problems and we believe that this is an important one to solve.”
Butcher says that Amazon’s arrival is exciting for the company. “Unlike Amazon, we operate in a high-touch, high-service environment, forming deep relationships with our customers ensuring strong and emotional connections. In a world of too much choice, we eliminate extra decisions that guys don’t need to make.”