Deals that strike a personal chord

Sometimes a deal is announced that resonates with you on multiple levels. It may be a case of, “why didn’t I think of that as a business idea?” or “Oh, will this acquisition take the target away from its core markets / values / principles?” (delete where appropriate).

The announcement that global consumer goods company Unilever is acquiring the Laundress, the New York-based producer of premium eco-friendly laundry and house cleaning products, for an undisclosed amount, has piqued my interest for these reasons. This deal and the company, the Laundress, is one of those deals that resonates with me – a lot. When I read the reasons of the founders, Lyndsey Boyd and Gwen Whiting, for starting the business, I find myself on the same page. I share their original frustration with multiple items in my wardrobe in terms of “maintaining them: replacing prematurely worn items and paying painful dry-cleaning bills” and what feels to me like an excessive use by clothing manufacturers of the label “dry clean only”. This frustration and their experience in the fashion industry led to the creation of the Laundress business in 2002 and over the last 17 years it has grown into an organisation with a range of high-end laundry, fabric and house cleaning products based on non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients.

Unilever’s press release talks about this acquisition being a “strong addition to our portfolio of leading Home Care brands. Its distribution network across specialty retailers, direct-to-consumer and e-commerce, combined with Unilever’s global reach creates an ideal launch pad towards giving more people around the world the distinct ‘the Laundress’ experience”. My hope is that, having been acquired by Unilever, the company is allowed to stay true to its principles of creating eco-friendly products.