The parent company of iconic Brazilian flip-flop maker Havaianas has made a significant, strategic investment in the sustainable footwear sector, buying into Californian shoe brand Rothy’s.
Rothy’s has transformed more than 100 tonnes of single-use plastic water bottles into machine-washable shoes.
Alpargatas SA will take a 49.9-per-cent stake in Rothy’s with a combined investment of US$475 million which will result in a post-investment $1 billion valuation for the 10-year-old company. Rothy’s co-founders Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin will maintain an equity stake in the business and continue to oversee its operations.
“We founded Rothy’s with the belief that there’s a better way to do business, and it starts by putting the planet and its people first,” said Hawthornthwaite, who is CEO at Rothy’s.
“In less than a decade, we’ve transformed our two-person passion project into a successful, sustainable and deeply innovative company and redefined the shoe category.”
He said partnering with Alpargatas will spark the next chapter of the company’s growth and reaffirm the strength of its business model and momentum in the marketplace.
“With Alpargatas’ financial support, scale and expertise, we look forward to rapidly expanding in global markets, building our physical retail presence, advancing product development, and accelerating our goal to reach circular production by 2023.”
Alpargatas was attracted to the partnership because it brings together two vertically-integrated leaders and innovators in the footwear industry with international manufacturing capacity and a shared commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
While Rothy’s has stores in six US cities, 98 per cent of its sales come from online channels. It has built a community of more than 2 million customers and expanded from an initial focus on women’s footwear into men’s footwear as well as accessories.
Alpargatas sells more than 260 million pairs of flip flops annually in more than 130 countries
CEO Roberto Funari says his company admires Rothy’s entrepreneurial, passionate founders and team.
“We value their digital-first business and loyal customer base and view this partnership as an important opportunity to advance our global strategy with increased relevance in the North American market. We are eager to work with Stephen, Roth and the entire Rothy’a team to expand the brand’s community all over the world through new retail and e-commerce channels.”
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