Plus-size e-tailer by Dia & Co. is expanding.
The fashion platform has entered into a deal to acquire fellow plus-size e-tailer 11 Honoré for an unspecified amount. Like Dia, 11 Honoré – which was founded by Patrick Herning in 2017 – carries several brands, with its own label, but at a premium at luxury price points. (Think Beyond Yoga with Diane von Furstenberg and everyone in between.)
“Patrick and I have met many times over the past two years and I think what has become very clear is the offer we can make together-truly offering our customers everything from Madewell to Carolina Herrera in one place. -is in a very fundamental way (and I say this as a plus-size consumer and CEO of a plus-size business) the real dream shopping experience has come true, ”said Nadia Boujarwah, cofounder and chief executive officer of Dia & Co., WWD in an exclusive interview. “By combining, we can bring to life experiences for consumers that have not been delivered by the category, up to this point.”
Herning added: “Where we complement each other brings a brand of perspective that will be newer to [Dia] platform, it marriage of size, proportion and brand. What it creates now is the destination vehicle for distribution. That’s where we come in, because it’s a fully integrated partner, where we can talk to brands at all price points right now and have that vehicle to get the product in front of the right audience is a match made with the sky.
Boujarwah pointed out that while marketing campaigns and advertisers have taken great steps over the past few years to include a more diverse lineup of models, such as plus-size models, there is still a lack of space options.
“The positive news coming out of the pandemic is that the conversation about representation and inclusivity has never been clearer and that’s impressive,” he said. “I think the flip side of the equation is the fact of what happened to plus-size options during the pandemic, is that they are actually significantly reduced.”
In 2021, Loft said it will stop selling sizes 18 and up. Lane Bryant and Catherines, both carrying plus-size women’s clothing and owned by Ascena Retail Group, also closed. Meanwhile, brands like Good American, Christian Siriano and Target have placed bets on the plus-size market. Last summer, Old Navy, the brand owned by Gap Inc., expanded its size range to a size of 30.
But Boujarwah insisted it was not enough.
“Plus consumers want access to more brands; she wants access to fashion, more style, more choice. The opposite of the repair history that this customer always faces, ”said Boujarwah, who founded Dia in 2015 with Lydia Gilbert.“ At the end of the day, our goal is to serve the majority of American women and when you look at the curve of the bell, that’s where our measurements really go down. “
It just is how many plus-size consumers are unclear. The average American woman is 5-foot-3-and-a-half inches and weighs approximately 170 pounds, according to 2018 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the latest data available.
But there are nuances. For one thing, this is only an average of about 170 million women. Another pointless point is that there is no clear definition of what a plus-size is-some brands say that sizes 16 or 18 are plus-size, while other brands are at 10. There is also no universal fashion size. Meaning what one brand calls a size of 10, another might label a size of 14 or 16. Factors like height play into the equation. A 6-foot tall woman at 170 pounds may be within her medically recommended BMI (and does not require plus-size clothing), while a 5-foot tall woman of the same weight will be included in the plus -size range.
“There’s not a lot of consensus across the industry,” Boujarwah acknowledged. “Ultimately, that confusion serves customers poorly.”
What is known is that the market demand for plus-size fashion among brands and retailers available, is growing-and relatively fast. Sales revenues for plus-size women’s clothing in the U.S. grew 18 percent in 2021, compared to 2019, according to market research firm NPD. That’s three times faster than consumer spending in the rest of the women’s market.
Year-to-date-or January 2022 to April 2022-the women’s plus-size market grew 24 percent, compared to the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, the rest of the women’s market grew only 3 percent in the first four. month of 2022.
“This growth, you can’t ignore it,” said Kristen Classi-Zummo, apparel industry analyst at NPD Group. “There’s a desire for more. Once the assortment is there, he’ll buy. The buyer will spend in the categories where he thinks he’s well represented.”
It presents a business opportunity for those in the plus-size market. But Classi-Zummo warns, “there are a lot of bumps on this road. A brand or retailer needs to get the right fit. It’s not just about scaling a pattern, but [it is about] actually working on an inclusive fit structure, working on a completely new sizing structure for this market.
“It’s hard to get the size right,” he added. “Fit and size are very important. And then, when you really understand that, having the right assortment and size mix, that’s really the struggle. And that’s a hard place to figure that out. ”
In fact, many retailers shy away from plus-size space because of the additional costs for new patterns and more materials. But Boujarwah told him – as well as Herning’s – that expertise in the category will ultimately benefit other brands, helping them expand without fear of huge losses.
“One of the things we’re really focusing on – and this acquisition is really a testament to that approach – is the idea that we need to have a way for brands to succeed with extra Mergers and Acquisitions, without them everything has to be done – from fit, tech and design, to distribution and marketing, ”she said. “That playbook has been played many times and the truth is it’s a very high order for most brands to do right. Instead of having brands go down the path of trying to stand alone from at zero to 100, [the brands can] work with a partner like Dia and 11 Honoré who are really capable of specializing in that value proposition for the customer and [then the] brands can focus on making the absolute best product and the best assortment possible. And we can really help with the marketing and distribution of that product.
“We have always believed that inclusive fashion is a team sport,” Boujarwah added. “And we really believe there’s a path together.”
The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. But Boujarwah said Dia gets 100 percent of 11 Honoré. The deal is expected to close in May and Herning will remain as cofounder of 11 Honoré and Dia & Co.
“It’s a role that is rooted in building brands and awareness and enthusiasm and bringing more brands to the platform and really being a great thinking partner for Nadia in what she’s built, as she leads the next generation of truly inclusive retails, ”Herning said. In addition, the Los Angeles-based designer and fashion entrepreneur will continue to focus on 11 Honoré’s own brand.
In February, before Herning and Honoré’s 11 personnel returned to New York for New York Fashion Week, she told WWD that 11 Honoré is on the path to profitability.
“Through this acquisition [11 Honoré] is profitable now, ”Herning said recently. “Part of what has been attractive with this acquisition is the financial health of 11. Honoré. And so, with that commitment to profitability, it [acquisition] the conversation has already begun. “
Erin Milley, the current CEO of 11 Honoré, will remain until the move before leaving the company. Also in the near term, the two websites will continue to live on separate platforms, but Boujarwah said the goal is to fully combine future experiences.
“In what world isn’t it exciting that he can have all this optional under one roof? It’s incredible,” Herning said. “This alignment is a step in the right direction to continue to do that.”