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Julie Mathers rescues Flora & Fauna

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By Published On: May 4, 20237 Comments

In collaboration with HealthPost, Flora & Fauna founder Julie Mathers has bought the company alongside fellow retailer Nourished Life from collapsed parent company BWX.

Flora & Fauna founder Julie Mathers has partnered with New Zealand-based online health retailer HealthPost to purchase the company alongside fellow ethical natural skin care and beauty retailer Nourished Life from the recently collapsed parent company BWX.

Last month, BWX was placed into voluntary admission. The company owned a range of natural skincare and health brands including Sukin, Andalou Naturals, Mineral Fusion, Nourished Life and vegan and cruelty-free marketplace Flora & Fauna. Its collapse was attributed to high operational costs and delays, stock issues, decreased marketing and promotional activity, and the general tough economic environment.

Flora & Fauna founder Julie Mathers departed the business in February last year, resigning as CEO. BWX acquired the eco-friendly and vegan-focussed retailer in May 2021 for around $30 million.

Alongside the Flora & Fauna acquisition, the deal includes the purchase of Nourished Life and will include IP, goodwill, websites, data and stock for both businesses for an undisclosed sum. Nourished Life was acquired by BWX in 2017. The natural skin care and beauty retailer started as a blog in 2011 and now boasts an extensive cruelty-free ecommerce store stocking over 7000 products, all subject to comprehensive screening for over 1000 harmful ingredients before being listed on the site and given the tick of approval.

Mathers has partnered with New Zealand-based online retailer HealthPost to make the purchase, registering a new company in Australia called The Future Collective.

According to an interview with Business News Australia, HealthPost approached Mathers to make the acquisition as a partnership. HealthPost has a strong ecommerce presence and extensive experience in the sector. Started in 1988, the B Corp Certified business has been delivering wellness across New Zealand for nearly 35 years. The company quickly got on board with ecommerce and boasts an impressive website and strong ethical values, aligning with those of Flora & Fauna and Nourished Life perfectly.

Speaking to Business News Australia, Mathers highlighted HealthPost’s ecommerce expertise and said she feels confident in their handling of Flora & Fauna and Nourished Life.

Nourished Life posted an update on its website today, expressing the company’s excitement over the acquisition. “We’re thrilled to have them [Mathers and HealthPost] onboard – and we know that you and your natural health are in safe and knowledgeable hands and we’re looking forward to this journey with you,” the update reads.

HealthPost CEO Abel Butler echoed the sentiment, saying, “We want to help these businesses flourish into the future. We recognise there is a lot of work to be done; with our experience in ecommerce, health, wellness and natural beauty, we are confident we are the right custodians of these purpose-driven brands.”

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About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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7 Comments

  1. Sinead Morrison May 4, 2023 at 12:54 PM - Reply

    Shame none of the staff were rescued alongside the assets.. seems rather unnecessary. And hardly ethical for such an ethical business.

  2. Susan M May 4, 2023 at 8:16 PM - Reply

    That’s very disappointing to find out. Not much of a rescue if everyone ends up losing their jobs anyway.

    Does this mean Flora & Fauna will be moving to New Zealand?

  3. Angie May 4, 2023 at 8:26 PM - Reply

    It looks like this supposedly ‘purpose’ driven business is just driven by the purpose of profit, but claims to be different. Good luck in their greenwashing efforts.

  4. Darren Lim May 4, 2023 at 9:06 PM - Reply

    “Here here” to the now redundant team who suffered through a substantial year of professional torment, only to be made redundant at the signing of the most recent sale of Flora and Fauna. “Here here” to the people that kept this business going in the light of chronic adversity. Congratulations to those who persued the acquisition of this asset, however the treatment of those hard working professionals who have lost their jobs in the current economic climate was highly unethical.

  5. Angie C May 4, 2023 at 11:19 PM - Reply

    It’s a shame to see so many articles praising someone who has seemingly strategically avoided mentioning the redundancies of all the staff. Staff, that tirelessly kept the brand alive to the best of their ability under a troubled company that she sold to in the first place. I feel like it would be a bit of a slap in the face to say the company is “NOW” in “safe and knowledgeable hands” after all their efforts. I’m sure these companies will be brought back to life, which customers will surely love, but it’s sad to see how easy it is for an “ethically driven” company to cut their hard working staff for no real reason.

  6. Julie Mathers May 6, 2023 at 9:40 AM - Reply

    I just wanted to leave a comment here around the team not coming on the next part of the journey. I put a LinkedIn post up last night about this.
    The current businesses are a fraction of the size they used to be. F&F is actually the same size as when Tom and I were running it in our shed with us two and a couple of people helping pick and pack. We discussed the team at length as a future buyer and we have to run lean for a hope of these businesses getting back to where they were. This was not an easy decision at all and it really was a case of buying these brands or not as they don’t stand up right now with the amount of work that has to be done. They won’t be trading for a while given the amount of work we have to do. The team have been through the mill this last year and have been very committed in a tough environment and that is not easy – I absolutely know that and I can’t emphasise enough this decision was thought through many times.

  7. Julia Conway August 4, 2023 at 8:16 AM - Reply

    Well said Julie Mathers. Ive been a customer of yours through Flora and Fauna for many years now. When I learnt you were stepping down and had sold the business, I was thoroughly disheartened. But in the end after you and the others involved had built such a successful business, you deserved the financial reward of selling on and enjoying your life after all that hard work. No one should belittle you for that. But it meant for me as a customer that F&F was no longer the same as when I first joined (heart and soul had left) so my orders virtually dwindled downwards as I felt it had lost the hand made and owned touch somewhat. (No offence to the company who had purchased it from you). Now that I hear you are back, I myself and im sure many others will be reigniting the flame and coming back to F&F more often. At the end of the day all businesses who sell goods should be making a profit with an appropriate staff size to suit that extent. That is life and as much as good poeple would like to help everyone in the world, especially with a job, it is not possible financially. We work with the cards we are dealt with in life. Keep up the good work:)

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