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Hardtofind acquires online rival

Hardtofind has acquired one of its biggest rivals, online gift, homewares and fashion store Down That Little Lane, in a deal intended to strengthen its position as a leading online marketplace for unique gifts and lifestyle products.

As of 15 December, visitors to the Down That Little Lane website will be redirected to Meanwhile, the online marketplace is already in the process of onboarding a number of Down That Little Lane’s 1000 sellers and 25,000 products.

Erica Stewart, founder and CEO of Hardtofind, says the acquisition will boost sales and customer numbers, as well as the number of products from small creative businesses being sold through the site.

“Our two businesses are very complementary and we’re excited to welcome Down That Little Lane’s customers and sellers to Hardtofind,” Stewart said.

Prior to the acquisition, Hardtofind counted 600,000 users in its database. It has now boosted that number by over 13 per cent with the addition of Down That Little Lane’s 80,000 customers and subscribers.

Down That Little Lane founder Tessa White said the similarities between the two businesses made them competitors in the past, but also ideally suited to a merger.

“While our two businesses have enjoyed a healthy rivalry, when the time came for Down That Little Lane to find a new owner, a conversation with Erica was one I could not ignore,” said White, who recently relocated to the US.

Hardtofind was founded in late 2008 and has seen continuous year-on-year growth. This year’s Christmas sales are up 35 per cent, according to Stewart.

“The business is in a really good place, with revenue and profit both increasing. We’ve had a huge year and we’ve got a clear growth strategy mapped out for the next 12 months,” she said.

That strategy, however, is unlikely to involve further acquisitions, since Stewart says there aren’t many similar businesses in Australia to acquire. “This opportunity came around more by chance than as a strategy. If there were another opportunity [like this one], I would take it,” she said.

Hardtofind brings together a curated selection of products from independent studios and hole-in-the-wall retailers around the world, giving the site a key point of difference in an increasingly crowded marketplace landscape.

“We don’t compete on price; we don’t have to,” Stewart said. “We find that we don’t need to be on sale as much as mainstream retailers.”

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