Niche Internet Brands Can Thrive by Merging with Larger Retailers
Turnaround and sale of Richer Poorer to francesca’s® points to a go-forward strategy for other e-tailers with strong followings and brands, says Tiger Group’s Ryan Davis.
NEW YORK – May 18, 2023 — Tiger Group’s turnaround and sale of California-based wardrobe essentials brand Richer Poorer to francesca’s® Acquisition LLC shows that merging with a larger platform is a viable path forward for other e-tailers, advised Ryan Davis, Tiger Group Executive Managing Director.
“Today’s soaring operating costs are becoming unsustainable for many independent eCommerce companies,” noted Davis, who frequently works with e-tailers as head of Tiger’s Valuation Services division. “A larger platform can make all the difference by providing critical operating efficiencies in areas such as marketing and distribution.”
On May 2nd francesca’s Acquisition LLC announced its asset purchase of the eCommerce brand from Tiger Group, bringing Richer Poorer under the francesca’s® Acquisition LLC umbrella as a wholly owned subsidiary. Specialty retailer francesca’s® Acquisition LLC operates francesca’s® and franki by francesca’s® boutiques nationwide. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.
The sale marks the culmination of a turnaround that began with Tiger Group’s acquisition of Richer Poorer in December 2022.
“Richer Poorer’s talented team, led by CEO and Co-Founder Iva Pawling, had succeeded in doing something truly special—establishing a magnetic brand and excellent customer rapport,” Davis recounted. “But recent economic forces had created strong headwinds for small dot-coms. Leveraging our proprietary TigerInsights Data Analytics, we identified efficiencies to strengthen Richer Poorer and help it weather these forces. Our goal was to find a home for this vital brand. We think francesca’s® is the perfect fit.”
Two years into a multi-year enterprise growth strategy after being taken private in 2021 by TerraMar Capital LLC, francesca’s® has continued to prioritize growing its eCommerce channel and customer experience, scaling tween brand franki by francesca’s®, expanding physical boutique experiences, as well as most recently launching the fran Club loyalty platform and thredUP re-sale partnership forever fran. Prioritizing these brand pillars has helped deliver substantial performance momentum for the company to date.
Richer Poorer’s purpose is “making the world a more comfortable place” by delivering thoughtful, elevated wardrobe essentials for modern life, made with the highest-quality, sustainable materials at attainable price points. Focused categories include sweats, tees and tanks, intimates, dresses and loungewear, and the brand’s styles have been seen on celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Suki Waterhouse, Jessica Alba and more. The brand will continue its existing efforts in wholesale and DTC channels this year, with a full re-launch in 2024.
Pawling continues to lead the brand in her expanded role as President of Richer Poorer, franki, and Wholesale. She is joined by several other operations team members retained by francesca’s® Acquisition LLC.
“We’re passionate about inspiring our customers by maintaining a diverse and balanced mix of apparel, jewelry, accessories and gifts,” said Andrew Clarke, CEO of francesca’s® Acquisition LLC. “Richer Poorer adds an exciting new dimension to our merchandise offering. Equally important, the brand shares our high priority on sustainability and community engagement. We’re grateful to Tiger for making this strong match and can’t wait for the next chapter in Richer Poorer’s unique story.”