2023 PE-Backed Holiday Gift Guide
PE-backed personal care and home goods brands will surely find their way onto gift wish lists this year
While high inflation and economic uncertainty weighed heavily on both M&A activity and the consumer goods market this past year, plenty of private equity-backed consumer products will surely find their way onto holiday shoppers’ lists.
2023 saw a range of consumer-focused middle-market acquisitions, with the apparel, home goods, and beauty and wellness categories seeing particularly strong dealmaking activity. So it’s no surprise that holiday wish list favorites like seasonal candles and cozy winter clothing make an appearance on this year’s Middle Market Growth PE-Backed Holiday Gift Guide.
But shoppers may be surprised to see some less conventional products on our list, compiled to showcase the variety of consumer products private equity investors pursued this year. Discover which brands and products made this year’s gift guide and the private equity firms behind the brands, below.
Draper James Apparel and Accessories
Founded by actress and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon, Draper James is a fashion and lifestyle brand offering a range of apparel, accessories and home goods in stores and online. This holiday season, the brand has a range of warm-weather products including plaid blazers, velvet dresses and sequined tops for seasonal celebrations and get-togethers. Earlier this year, consumer-focused investment manager Consortium Brand Partners acquired a majority stake in the company in a deal in which CBP maintains a collaborative partnership with Draper James’ existing management team.
Image source: Draper James
TRUFF Truffle Hot Sauce
Hot sauce lovers rejoice: TRUFF offers a range of elevated hot sauce products infused with truffle. TRUFF Hotter Hot Sauce, for instance, includes a blend of black truffle with jalapeño, red chili peppers, agave nectar and red habanero powder. It’s a condiment great for noodles, hot dogs and more, according to the company. In addition to its hot sauces, TRUFF offers seasonings, pasta sauces and mayonnaise, each with unique recipes using premium ingredients. You may be hearing more about the TRUFF brand this year thanks to influencer and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian, whose private equity firm SKKY Partners acquired a majority stake in the company.
Image source: TRUFF
Dollar Shave Club Holiday Shaving Kit
Unilever made headlines this year when it announced it was selling Dollar Shave Club, a brand that offers male grooming and shaving products, including its Holishaves Bundle. The company’s holiday exclusive gift set includes a limited-edition razor handle in mistletoe green, four six-blade razors, a razor cover and Dollar Shave Club’s Shave Butter. Unilever acquired the business for $1 billion in 2016 but earlier this year decided to exit the company to private equity firm Nexus Capital Management. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Nexus acquired a 65% stake in the business, while Unilever retained the remaining 35%.
Image source: Dollar Shave Club
Otherland Alpine Crystal Candle
Part of its seasonal line of candles, Otherland’s Alpine Crystal candle is a mix of juniper sprig, icy tonic and lemon fizz scents. It’s just one of a range of candles offered by the company that, earlier this year, was acquired by PE-backed CURiO brands, a premium fragrance platform created through the merger of Thymes and DPM Fragrance in 2016. The platform was backed by investors Castanea Partners, RCP, Stanfield Capital and Northstar before it was subsequently sold to middle-market PE firm York Private Equity. Last June, CURiO announced it would acquire Otherland, expanding its presence in the direct-to-consumer candle and scents market.
Image source: Otherland
Shock Doctor 3D Bling Chain Max Airflow Mouthguard
For the athlete in your life, Shock Doctor’s line of sporting apparel and equipment offers a blend of fashion, utility and protection. With products for football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse and other sports, the brand’s offerings include its eye-catching football mouthguards adorned with gold and crystal. They may turn heads, but Shock Doctor’s mouthguards don’t compromise safety, according to the company, thanks to their Airflow breathing channel to improve breathing capacity and support the jaw. Shock Doctor is just one of several brands under the sports equipment platform United Sports Brands, which was recently acquired by Norwest Equity Partners. It’s not NEP’s first investment in Shock Doctor, either: The private equity firm acquired Shock Doctor in 2008 and exited the business after six years. It sold the brand to Bregal Partners, which merged it to form the United Sports Brands platform.
Image source: Shock Doctor
Suave’s That Girl Lay Lay Nickelodeon Princess Slaya Hair Detangler
Offered as part of its line of personal care products for kids, Suave’s hair detangling products not only offer a frustration-free solution to tangles and knots, but they make hair care fun for the younger consumer. Suave offers a range of branded hair care products for kids, including Disney’s Encanto, Disney’s Frozen, Marvel’s Spiderman and Nickelodeon’s That Girl Lay Lay. Suave was sold by Unilever in May and acquired by Yellow Wood Partners, a private equity firm focused on consumer brands.
Image source: Suave
Three Dog Bakery’s Candy Cane Lick’n Crunch Dog Treats
Dogs are part of the family, too! Share the Christmas spirit with your furry friends with Three Dog Bakery’s festive Candy Cane Lick’n Crunch dog treats. The festive snack includes real candy cane pieces, ensuring your pup gets in on the holiday fun. The consumer products division of Three Dog Bakery, based in Missouri, was acquired earlier this year by New York-based private equity firm Topspin Consumer Partners.
Image Source: Three Dog Bakery
Vetnique Labs Ultimate Grooming Bundle
After some treats, our dogs need a healthy dose of care, too. Vetnique Labs offers a holiday bundle of grooming supplements and products, including hypoallergenic shampoo, skincare soft chews and pet wipes. Based in Illinois, Vetnique was acquired by Gryphon Investors in April. The private equity firm noted it will focus on expanding the company’s geographic reach and product line. Vetnique products can be found online as well as through specialty pet retail outlets and veterinary distributors.
Image source: Vetnique Labs
Care Bear Plush Toys
The iconic face of Care Bears will never fail to bring a smile to children’s faces when it comes time to open gifts. Cloudco Entertainment, the owner of intellectual properties including the timeless Care Bears, was acquired earlier this year by IVEST Consumer Partners. IVEST specializes in consumer products, licensing and retail companies. In addition to plush toys for children, the Care Bears brand includes plenty of gift options for adults, including Care Bears t-shirts, sock gift sets and games.
Image source: Cloudco Entertainment
Backcountry Wide Mouth Hydro Flask
Outdoor goods online-only retailer Backcountry.com has an extensive holiday gift guide this year, but the enduring popularity of the Hydro Flask is a sure-win for gift-giving season. Backcountry paired up with Hydro Flask for an exclusive line of 32-ounce wide-mouth bottles made with BPA-free stainless steel and double-wall vacuum insulation. Late last year, Backcountry was acquired by San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners, which invested in the business after it was sold by former backer Liberty Interactive, the owner of QVC.
Image source: Backcountry.com