B Corp Flora and Fauna is acquired for more than $26 million
1 June 2021 at 4:39 pm
We caught up with the ethical online store’s founder and CEO, Julie Mathers, to find out how she approached a purpose-led acquisition and what it means for the brand
Mathers started Flora and Fauna (F&F) as a one-woman show in 2014, with her husband Tom coming on board swiftly after. Until last year the couple had focused solely on growing the business, barely taking a wage and before the recent acquisition had never had any outside investment in the business.
After getting through the pandemic Mathers realised that F&F needed external investment to grow in the way she wanted, and so began working with Deloitte to find investment opportunities.
The one non-negotiable being that whoever Deloitte approached needed to align with the company’s values and vision.
“The process wasn’t a quick one because we had to really establish [before we met with anyone] that they were the right fit,” Mathers told Pro Bono News.
“Finding someone that aligned with our values was very important to me right from the outset. We needed to be able to work with someone who really understood our business and the reasons behind it. For us, it’s all about balancing purpose and profit. One is never at the expense of the other.”
Mathers knew BWX could bring an understanding of e-commerce thanks to its already established online business Nourished Life, but it was only after connecting with its CEO that she felt comfortable it was the right fit.
“BWX’s CEO is great, he has a massive amount of retail experience, comes with a different view on things and doesn’t want to change anything we do,” she said.
With BWX set to acquire 100 per cent of F&F for between $27.9 million to $30.8 million, depending on revenue for the rest of this financial year, and continuing to employ Mathers and her team of 47 staff, Mathers sees the future as being very much business as usual.
“The acquisition means we get access to a much bigger support system and people with great skills. Plus, BWX is also a manufacturing company so there’s potential there and, of course, there’s the [financial] investment so we can grow.”
The other aspect of F&F that Mathers refused to compromise on is the company’s B Corp status – something she’s proud of and sees as being a hugely important part of the business.
“Being a B Corp is very, very important to me. It’s an integral part of who we are. In fact, we’ve just recertified,” she said.
“BWX coming on board doesn’t change anything from this perspective and we fully intend to retain our B Corp status. Really, it’s business as usual. We have a strategy for F&F and we’ll stay focused on delivering that.”
Mathers hopes that through this acquisition she has shown that there’s huge value in purpose-driven businesses.
“Throughout this journey, I found that investors got a bit scared by the purpose side of things because they didn’t understand how purpose can mix with finance,” she said.
“I hope that this acquisition inspires people to see things differently. I also hope it inspires existing businesses to think more about their credentials when it comes to being purpose-led.”