Personal care company The Heat Group has acquired natural skincare retailer Billie Goat Soap for an undisclosed sum, saying it intends to make further acquisitions as it expands its portfolio.
The Heat Group already owns cosmetic brand Ultra3 and is the Australian distributor for established makeup brands including Max Factor, CoverGirl and Bourjois Cosmetics.
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The acquisition of Billie Goat Soap – which sells soap, moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, body wash and bath soaks – is the The Heat Group’s first foray into the skincare market.
Founded by Leanne Falkner, Billie Goat Soap describes itself as the original goat’s milk soap company.
As part of the deal, Faulkner and her two staff will join The Heat Group. The acquisition is effective from February 1.
Gillian Franklin, StartupSmart mentor and managing director of The Heat Group, says Billie Goat Soap is a high quality brand with considerable growth potential.
“It is the perfect fit for our successful brand portfolio, and will enable our team to broaden relationships with our retail partners and leverage our customer base,” Franklin says.
“Leanne Faulkner has done a fantastic job in achieving growth but was going through the difficult three/four-year stage of being a small business owner, and needed advice about how to take the business to the next step.”
“She had read about me in a publication, and wrote me a letter asking whether I would be willing to meet with her and give her some suggestions.”
“The more we talked about her business, the more opportunity I thought there would be for both of us.”
Franklin says she was impressed with the company’s loyal customer base.
“When you look at the Facebook page they have, there’s quite an overwhelming response from consumers who have used the brand, expressing their absolute gratitude,” she says.
“I’m very excited about that. With that high performance level, I thought, imagine what we could do if we really expanded the brand and put our resources behind it.”
Faulkner says she’s excited about Billie Goat Soap joining The Heat Group, acknowledging its capabilities.
“The Heat Group’s resources and expertise will provide the opportunity to significantly extend its reach to more Australians… I can’t wait to see this potential realised,” she said in a statement.
Franklin says the first thing The Heat Group will do is ensure Billy Goat Soap is “everywhere”.
“It has good representation in Myer, David Jones, pharmacies and Target, but it hasn’t been able to ensure the whole range is sold,” she says.
“We’re looking at what new retail opportunities there are. After that, we’ll look at exporting opportunities and, simultaneously, Leanne will look at the actual brand and another line.”
“It’s already shipping to New Zealand and Singapore, and I think South East Asia would have a natural appeal… Billie Baby also has considerable opportunities.”
As part of its growth strategy, Franklin says The Heat Group is looking to acquire other companies, but isn’t interested in brands that are already mature.
“Culturally, we want a brand that’s a good fit with our brand, and it needs to give us a financial return… It also needs to be in personal care so we can leverage our expertise,” she says.