Simba Sleep founder steps up to rescue slipper brand Mahabis
James Cox plans to turn the brand into the next Ugg.
Millennial slipper brand Mahabis has been rescued from administration by one of the founders of mattress startup Simba Sleep and his boutique investment firm.
The acquisition by YYX Capital safeguards the jobs of all 16 employees at the company.
James Cox, Simba co-founder and co-head of YYX, will take over as interim CEO of Mahabis during the handover period and oversee a plan to overhaul its product and marketing.
Mahabis was founded in 2014 and grew rapidly by targeting millennials with woollen slippers that can be worn outside using detachable rubber soles.
It sold almost a million pairs in just four years.
But it went into administration in late December last year, putting the future of the business in doubt.
“There’s no reason Mahabis can’t be like Ugg.” James Cox, Mahabis interim CEO
Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Cox said there was still value in the brand and potential for it to become a £100 million business in five years.
“There’s no reason Mahabis can’t be like Ugg,” he said.
He added that he will partner with retailers to make Mahabis footwear available in a range of channels, including bricks-and-mortar stores.
The brand is also planning a tie-up with Simba Sleep to produce exclusive co-branded slippers.
Administrators for the business at KRE Corporate Recovery received over 70 expressions of interest in buying Mahabis.
Paul Ellison, partner of KRE Corporate Recovery, said: “James Cox and YYX Capital showed a real understanding of the business and had a very clear strategy on how to grow Mahabis while retaining its core team and unique corporate culture.”
Mahabis founder Ankur Shah will no longer be involved with the business, but he lent his support to the new owners.
He said: “We achieved an enormous amount in a very short space of time. Whilst the decision to go in to administration was a difficult one, this was a great outcome for both employees and suppliers. Whilst I now plan to pursue other projects, I hope YYX can propel the brand in new and exciting directions.”