True’s portfolio company, Frugi has acquired TotsBots, the environmentally-friendly cloth nappy company, and its sister brand, Bloom & Nora, the reusable sanitary products brand.
TotsBots designs, manufactures and sells sustainably-sourced and environmentally-friendly nappies made from recycled plastic-bottles. Bloom & Nora uses bamboo and other sustainable materials to produce reusable sanitary items.
With a growing consumer focus on sustainability and a rising interest in purchasing products that are environmentally friendly, all three brands sit at the forefront of this trend and are experiencing significant growth. The acquisition will allow all three brands to further leverage this trend and capitalise on the ongoing shift in consumer behaviour towards more sustainable purchasing habits.
Frugi, in which True took a majority stake in July 2018, has grown strongly over recent years, with like for like sales growth of over 50% being achieved over the recent Christmas trading period. TotsBots is also enjoying considerable growth, particularly in its direct-to-consumer business, which has grown over 80% in the last twelve months.
Following the acquisition, the brands will work closely together with significant cross-selling opportunities, as well the option for Frugi to leverage TotsBots’ existing manufacturing facilities to test and develop new products and categories more quickly in the future.
The market for disposable nappies has struggled in recent years and is estimated to be declining at 6% per annum, as the consumer backlash against single use plastics increases. Sustainability charity WRAP, estimates that a child will soil between 4-6,000 nappies between birth and potty training, with around 3 billion single-use nappies annually representing 2-3% of all household waste. In addition to a clear financial benefit for young families, which is estimated to be over £750 over the life of a child, the environmental impact can be cut significantly with reusable nappies, as only 30 to 50 cloth nappies are necessary from birth to potty and the nappies can be reused by second or third children.
True invested further capital into Frugi to fund the acquisition with the selling shareholders also retaining a stake in the enlarged Frugi group. True worked closely with Frugi founder, Lucy Jewson, who remains a shareholder in the group and has a long-standing relationship with the TotsBots founders, to allow for the three brands to come together. Following the acquisition both TotsBots and Bloom & Nora will be able to benefit from commercial introductions via True’s Live Network of complementary businesses and senior executives.
Paul Cocker, Co-Founder of True and Board Director at Frugi: “We invest in businesses and teams that are fit for the future and we have been delighted with the progress Frugi has made over the last 18 months. The acquisition of TotsBots, which very clearly fits our definition of fit for the future, is an exciting step in the company’s growth strategy, particularly due to its shared and aligned purposes and business practices that will benefit not only customers but also their supply chains and the environment. TotsBots is our first bolt-on acquisition and we look forward to seeking further opportunities for our portfolio companies in the future. I am also delighted to welcome Fiona and Magnus as shareholders and look forward to working closely with both teams to continue to accelerate the enlarged group’s growth.”
Hugo Adams, CEO, Frugi: “This is a really exciting acquisition that goes right back to the founding principles of both brands. We already share a common purpose, values and ethics as well as an obvious product fit. Both businesses are already hugely successful with excellent growth rates. Bringing them together gives us even more opportunities to leverage the considerable skills and expertise in both businesses for the benefit of our customers, suppliers and the environment.”
Fiona Smyth, Co-Founder TotsBots: “We have spent 19 years developing, manufacturing and selling sustainable and environmentally friendly nappies. We have always looked to make the best products, in the kindest way possible to our planet, inspiring and enabling parents to make choices that have a positive environmental impact for the future of their children. Frugi, and Lucy in particular, have always been an inspiration to our brand and bringing our company together with Frugi is the best possible outcome for us, our customers, suppliers and the environment. With such close alignment to our own ethical and sustainable objectives, we are really excited for the journey ahead.”