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Birimian partners with Trail to support African fashion

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

11 Apr 2022

Business

Image: Birimian; Laureen Kouassi-Olsson
Birimian, the investment company dedicated to connecting African luxury and heritage fashion brands with international investors, has announced a strategic partnership with European asset management firm Trail Capital to scale up support for African fashion houses and brands.

To mark the partnership, Paris-based Trail has invested an undisclosed sum in Birimian’s dedicated investment vehicle. This investment will support Birimian’s ongoing investment in African brands, focused on building capacity and supporting brand development.

In the second phase of the collaboration, the two companies will launch and co-manage a long-term investment company, which will invest at least 5 million euros each year in a carefully selected portfolio of brands. The first close of this investment company is expected by year-end, added Birimian in a statement.

Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, founder and executive chair of Birimian Holdings, said: “We are thrilled by this alliance, and it’s particularly important for me as it represents a key milestone for Birimian within a year of our launch.

“Partnering with Trail strengthens the credibility of our approach, our business model, brand development and investment strategy in the fashion and creative scene. I am also glad to expand Trail’s horizons and eager to support them in further developing their activities on the African continent.”

Birimian scales up support for African fashion with strategic partnership with Trail

Birimian added that in Trail it has found an “institutional investor” that will help it achieve its mission to scale up the multi-billion-dollar African fashion industry. Its goals include building a portfolio of over 20 luxury fashion houses and brands in the next five years.

African creative entrepreneurs are held back by several challenges, adds Birimian, including low production capacities, lack of access to finance and restricted distribution networks. With its partnership with Trail, it hopes to address these challenges by providing African heritage brands with both operational and financial support offering them access to strong networks of experts to help them scale up and reach new markets.

The partnership will also offer an innovative alternative to the traditional private equity model, designed to support long term brand development. The new model will create increased value within African fashion – benefitting designers, investors and textile manufacturers alike.

Trail, which holds stakes in companies including jewellery brand APM Monaco, professional beauty brand Wella and digital fashion agency Mazarine, said that it will support Birimian in its value creation strategy, leveraging its extensive network of partners, advisors, and key stakeholders.

In return, Birimian will help Trail bring its expertise to the African continent by leveraging its knowledge of pan-African fashion markets and designers.

Xavier Marin, managing partner of Trail Capital, added: “We are looking forward to this partnership with Birimian. It is a new venture for Trail, one that holds tremendous promises, considering the huge potential we see in African heritage brands, and more generally in the African continent as a new investment frontier. Trail has developed strong links with geographically diverse investors and this new step is totally aligned with our mandate.”

As part of the partnership, Birimian will open a representation in Paris to oversee part of its activities, located in Trail’s offices.

AFRICAN FASHION
Birimian
Trail