From a fledgling e-commerce business to a $40 million deal: Emily McWaters sells The Hamper Emporium to Maggie Beer Holdings

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Emily McWaters and her two children. Source: Supplied

Owner of The Hamper Emporium Emily McWaters has sold her 10-year-old e-commerce business to Maggie Beer Holdings for $40 million.

McWaters founded the luxury hamper business in 2010, expanding its offering to include products from international brands, such as Moet & Chandon, Hennessy, Seafolly and L’Occitane, as well as gourmet food and wine options from South Australia’s Kangaroo Island where she lives.

Speaking to SmartCompany, McWaters notes the sale of both her businesses, The Hamper Emporium and Gifts Australia, under Hampers and Gifts Australia, to Maggie Beer Holdings shows her business strategies have paid off.

“One way to judge success is financial and we have achieved that, but more importantly for me it is validation of the numerous strategies we have implemented over the years,” she says.

McWaters, who will continue as creative director, says she looks forward to working with Maggie Beer Holdings chief executive Chantale Millard and the team to create an “even better customer experience”.

“Chantale Millard and her team are a great cultural fit with our team and we intend to dig in and continue working on enhancing the ecommerce strength of the group,” she says.

Coincidentally, McWaters grew up and now lives in South Australia, the same state where acclaimed cook Maggie Beer began her products brand in 1979.

In 2019, Beer sold her business, Maggie Beer Products, to the ASX-listed group Longtable that was later renamed as Maggie Beer Holdings.

Maggie Beer Holdings will acquire 100% of the hamper business, which has a projected revenue of about $36.4 million for this financial year.

Last financial year, The Hamper Emporium, which mostly caters to corporate consumers, sold 125,000 hampers and it is on track to sell 250,000 this financial year.

McWaters’ second business, Gifts Australia, sells affordable gift products to a broader range of individual consumers and sold 64,000 items last financial year.

The ASX-listed Maggie Beer Holdings told its shareholders on Tuesday that the acquisition aligns with its e-commerce and digital transformation strategy.

The acquisition will involve an initial price of 50% cash and 50% shares, with the earnout dependent on Hampers and Gifts Australia achieving $10 million earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) by the 2023 financial year.

Maggie Beer Holdings will fund the acquisition with a $20 million capital raising.

From hospitality to e-commerce

McWaters founded The Hamper Emporium off-the back of a successful stint owning a cafe.

In 2006, McWaters and her sister bought a cafe in Sydney for $20,000 and one year later the pair sold it for $180,000.

After selling the cafe, McWaters and her business partner David Morgan bought Kingston Foods Australia, which they then sold in 2014 when McWaters decided to continue with the subsidiary, The Hamper Emporium.

That subsidiary formed the basis of Hampers and Gifts Australia.

McWaters has managed her business from South Australia’s Kangaroo Island since 2015, where she moved to be closer to her parents.

Writing for SmartCompany in 2019, McWaters said being away from a large city helped her to discover unique products from small businesses and “find a balance between partnering with large well-known brands as well as featuring local artisan products”.

“We get our organic olives from a company who also happen to be our neighbours at Nepean Bay … It is amazing what opportunities you can find right on your doorstep once you start looking,” she said.

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