Seventh Generation, a leader in household and personal care products, has acquired Raleigh-based beverage brand Gamila Company for an undisclosed sum. Gamila is the startup behind brewing products Impress, a single-serve coffee maker and the Teastick, a tea infuser.
What would a leader in household and personal care products want with a coffee and tea company? Seventh Gen says it is actively looking to invest in consumer goods and in aligned companies. The acquisition flows well with Seventh Gen's 2013 purchase of bobble, a reusable, filtered water bottle company, its first brand acquisition outside of the household and baby products space.
"The success of bobble has validated that today's consumers want more sustainable, stylish beverage carrier options," Replogle said. "When we learned of Gamila and discovered the company was similarly focused on design and reducing single-serve waste, we knew we had found something special. We're excited to continue exploring the portable beverage industry with their team."
“Impress has other applications beyond a coffee press,” Gamila founder Aly Khalifa told Triangle Business Journal. “Water filtration has been on our mind from the very beginning.”
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Developed by Khalifa and his wife, Beth, Gamila estimates that had it stayed independent, its sales would exceed $700,000 this year driven by growing sales of the Impress. Now under the wing of Seventh Generation, which had retail sales of more than $300 million last year, Gamila’s sales are expected to grow dramatically.
“We’ve got a national-scaled sales organization, marketing and distribution,” said Seventh Gen CEO John Replogle. “What we’ll be able to do is plug this in both nationally and internationally and, we believe, grow it quite dramatically.”
Gamila had raised more than $130,000 through Kickstarter for the production of its Impress Coffee Brewer, which was launched in April 2013 online. The company had started to reach out to distributors this year for brick-and-mortar stores and had made its first deliveries to wholesalers this month.
While the Gamila team will not become Seventh Generation employees, the deal calls for their product development firm, Designbox, to team up with the company on developing new products – including a low-cost water filtration system for developing nations. Meanwhile, Replogle says the plan is to merge the Impress and Teastick into its bobble brand products, most likely renaming them as bobble Impress and bobble Teastick.
“It’s a natural extension of our bobble business,” Replogle told Triangle Business Journal. “Bobble is all about ‘make water better,’ and in this case, we’re making tea better and coffee better.”
The division will be based in Raleigh, where Replogle is based, a proximity that helped foster the partnership: Replogle and Khalifa participated in a conference call with William McDonough earlier this year. Khalifa discovered that Replogle was local and invited him over for a chat, made him a cup of coffee with the Impress and the rest organically followed.
“It all just happened because of being neighbors,” Khalifa said.
Khalifa's other product design venture – Lyf Shoes, which provides a sustainable overhaul for footwear manufacturing – will continue to remain independent. Though Replogle was impressed with the concept, wearables don't fit in with Seventh Gen’s expansion plan as of now.