With Joanna Griffiths at its helm, Knix has become one of the fastest growing intimate apparel brands worldwide and the sixth fastest growing company in Canada. With Knix reporting net sales of $133.6 million last year and a sales growth of almost 97%, Joanna has launched the next chapter for her company by selling 80% majority to Essity, a Swedish-based hygiene product maker.
Joanna founded Knix in 2013, starting with a crowdfunding campaign to launch a line of leakproof underwear — a product category that the Toronto-based company has helped to create. The brand further fostered customer loyalty over the years by speaking openly about the reality of women’s bodies and launching products and ad campaigns designed for and featuring people of diverse ages, sizes, races, and backgrounds.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Joanna said that she wasn’t actively looking for Knix to be acquired but it came down to finding the right partner. She’s called the acquisition by Essity, “a dream come true” citing their shared goals of improving customers’ lives.
With leakproof apparel estimated to grow by 20% over the next five years, Joanna said to the Globe and Mail on the acquisition, “… as pioneers of the leakproof underwear category, a partnership with Essity marked the opportunity to become the global leader in the growing category and to reach more people with our products and brand.”
Joanna holds the remaining 20% stake of Knix and will stay on as president as Knix continues to operate as a standalone company.
“I am delighted to welcome Knix to Essity,” Magnus Groth, president and CEO of Essity, said in a statement. “It’s a successful company with an impressive track record.”
Last year, Joanna made headlines when she closed a $50M funding round, three days before giving birth to her twin daughters. True to her brand mission of empowering women, Joanna had one simple rule — any potential investor who questioned her pregnancy or her ability to run a nine-figure company and be a mother was cut from the process.
This funding round supported Knix’s expansion into brick-and-mortar stores located within Canada and the US — at the time Knix was (and still is) primarily an e-commerce company — and expand their product lines. Knix now sells bras, leggings, pajamas, shapewear, and swimsuits, and will be opening its seventh store next year.
The total enterprise value of Knix, which has approximately 200 employees, amounts to $500 million, with Joanna looking forward to the new future presented by Essity. In her Instagram post about the announcement, she writes:
“This partnership marks a decade worth of believing in the power and importance of leakproof underwear and the conviction that these products can change the world. I say this a lot about Knix but it feels especially true today — we are just getting started!”
As the lines become blurred between commerce and content, marketing and community, and impact vs. income, a new way of business has evolved and leading the charge is Knix. In her enlightening keynotes, Joanna Griffiths walks audiences through her journey of building one of the most successful and prolific mission-driven brands of the digital era, sharing lessons learned along the way.
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