Wardrobe Expands With New Acquisition

After launching one of the more innovative business models in the digital-first space, fashion rental platform Wardrobe is expanding. With its recent purchase of Dallas-based Rent My Wardrobe, it is gaining a geographic footprint in the southern U.S. and expanding its presence in what its founder calls the “peer-to-peer” fashion space.

“The acquisition came together very quickly, and made a lot of sense,” Wardrobe CEO and Founder Adarsh Alphons told PYMNTS. “Rent My Wardrobe has tens of thousands of users signed onto that platform, and they were early in the peer-to-peer fashion rental space. It’s going to be a very natural fit, as we are leaning into the future of fashion and now we can actually do it at scale. So our customers will have access to more wardrobes and more inventory.”

Like Wardrobe, Rent My Wardrobe encourages members to put their closets online for users to rent and return –but Wardrobe’s model is a bit more complex. The platform allows owners of high-end and distinctive clothing to rent out their items via local dry cleaners. Renters pick up and return clothing at a local participating dry cleaner, which also cleans and stores the items, thereby eliminating Wardrobe’s need for warehouses and shipping fleets. The service is aimed at customers who want to rent items for special occasions or temporarily indulge in high-end fashion and trends.

Alphons said Wardrobe has seen a sharp increase in its business during COVID-19, part of which he attributes to the dry cleaner factor. When members pick up their outfits, they know they have been professionally cleaned, which is a unique part of the company’s business model. He expects that the digital-first economy will continue to support businesses like his as boutiques will need to re-establish themselves after the pandemic subsides and larger stores struggle with foot traffic and online scale and operations issues. Reinvention, he said, is key.

“We believe our model is going to be a new way for fashion to be presented and a new way for people to experience and access fashion,” Alphons predicted. “There’s going to be innovation happening in this space, and we want to be a part of that. We want to do a lot more to bring customers in the door.”

That’s one of the reasons Alphons was excited about RTW. He said Wardrobe intends to fully integrate Rent My Wardrobe, which is valued at $4 million, in time for the holiday season. Rent My Wardrobe’s Founder Rachel Sipperley will join Wardrobe as its vice president of brand and partnerships, and will focus on “getting customers in the door” as she brings a feminist’s outlook and an expertise in customer acquisition and growth. Sipperley created RTW as a business that would empower women to be self-reliant. ​

“The story of Rent My Wardrobe started when I couldn’t afford a dress for prom,” said Sipperley. “I believe financial independence is the highest form of feminism, and I conceived Rent My Wardrobe

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Major acquisition in PWC accessories business

One of the largest acquisitions in recent years in the personal watercraft accessories business has been announced from a pair of longtime industry stalwarts.

Florida-based marine and powersports entrepreneur Greg Pickren, owner of brands such as SBT and Watercraft Superstore, has acquired California-based Hydro-Turf from H-T founder Arno Olbricht.

Greg Pickren (left) and Arno Olbricht.

“Hydro-Turf has been for over 30 years and still is the leader in watercraft traction mats and seat covers, and we are extremely excited about this acquisition,” Pickren said. “Mr. Olbricht certainly deserves a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the industry.”

“Founding and growing Hydro-Turf to the company that it is today has been my passion for most of my adult life. I will miss the daily challenges of running the business, but I am confident that the company has a bright future under the direction of Mr. Pickren,” Olbricht said.

The company will be relocated to a new, larger manufacturing facility in Clearwater, Florida, during the first quarter of 2021. 

“Hydro-Turf will continue to provide the same outstanding level of customer service and product quality, something for which the company has been known for over the last thirty years,” Pickren said.

Pickren’s family of companies and brands include Marine Mat, SEI Marine Products, API Marine, 4XPro, East Lake Axle, Watercraft Superstore, SBT, BlackTip Jet Sports, Adonis Impellers and Pacific Big Wave.

The family of companies is headquartered in Tampa and has manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Taiwan. The collective group of companies has 300 employees and annual sales of $70 million. 

Hydro-Turf was founded in 1990 by Olbricht. Hydro-Turf is the industry leader in watercraft traction mats and seat covers with multiple original equipment and aftermarket distributer and dealer accounts. The company’s manufacturing facilities are located in Anaheim. 

The company also produces seat covers and other products under the trade name HT Moto for the motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV and side-by-side industries.

— Dave McMahon, editor, dmcmahon at powersportsbusiness.com

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Securitize Goes License Shopping With Acquisition of SEC-Registered Broker-Dealer

Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo

Security token firm Securitize is trying to become a broker-dealer and alternative trading system for digital assets, the company announced Thursday.

The firm signed an agreement to purchase Distributed Technology Markets (DTM), a broker-dealer and alternative trading system registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). 

As part of the acquisition, Securitize will also acquire Velocity Platform, a money services business with licenses in several states. Both DTM and Velocity Platform are owned by parent company Velocity Markets. Securitize added these registrations to its status as a SEC-registered transfer agent in the digital asset space.

Related: PwC Report Points to Banner Year for Crypto M&A and Fundraising Deals

The deal is pending regulatory approval and the terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

“We felt that an acquisition was the faster route with less uncertainty,” said Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo. “This will allow us to create a marketplace for secondary trading of private securities.”

Read more: Securitize Is Taking Ethereum-Based Securities Into the DeFi Realm

Broker-dealers in the U.S are able to buy and sell securities, both for themselves and for their clients, while alternative trading systems facilitate the trades. In 2019, FINRA sat on dozens of broker-dealer applications for months, reportedly at the SEC’s request. 

Related: Securitize Is Taking Ethereum-Based Securities Into the DeFi Realm

For a while, Securitize had assumed it wouldn’t have to create its own marketplace for security tokens because of how many companies planned to become broker-dealers for the space, Domingo said. 

Securitize has spoken with at least 40 companies in the security token space who have folded or not launched their projects because a lack of understanding of the sector’s regulatory complexity, he added. 

Prior to the acquisition, Securitize was using security token trading platform Openfinance as its ATS, but in April the company threatened to delist tokens and suspend trading unless issuers could cover more costs. 

“There’s no reason to believe that someone else is going to be able to create an effective secondary marketplace [for security tokens],” Domingo said.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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