Abidjan & Paris – April, 11th 2022 – Birimian, the first operational investment company dedicated to African heritage emerging brands, and Trail, the European asset management firm scaling up successful and promising entrepreneurs, together announce a strategic partnership designed to support African fashion houses and premium emerging brands.
The first phase of this alliance will be an investment by Trail in Birimian’s dedicated investment vehicle. This financing will support Birimian’s ongoing investments in African brands, focused on building capacity and supporting brand development. The second phase will see the creation of a long-term investment company co-managed by Birimian and Trail, “Birimian X Trail”, which will invest at least EUR 5 million each year in a carefully selected portfolio of brands. The first close of this investment company is expected by year end.
With Trail, Birimian has found an institutional investor that will help it achieve its mission to scale-up the multi-billion-dollar African fashion industry and to become a leader in this field. Trail will support Birimian in its value creation strategy, leveraging its extensive network of partners, advisors, and key stakeholders. Trail has an extensive track record in the European fashion & leisure sectors, partnering with brands including, Mazarine ( digital fashion and creative agency dedicated to luxury, art and culture with a track record in the US, European and Asian Markets), APM Monaco (contemporaneous jewelry brand active in the European and US markets ) Wella (Hair Care brand) and Buffet Crampon (leading European brand developing wind instruments of reference) . The partnership with Birimian will, in turn, help Trail bring its expertise to the African continent, leveraging the emerging business’ knowledge of pan-African fashion markets and designers.
African creative entrepreneurs are held back by several challenges – notably low production capacities, lack of access to finance and restricted distribution networks. To address these challenges, Birimian X Trail will provide 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. Birimian aims to build a portfolio of over 20 luxury fashion houses and emerging brands in the next five years.
This development is the second pillar of Birimian’s value creation strategy, after the launch of the unique acceleration program in partnership with Institut Français de la Mode : IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa
Birimian and Trail’s partnership also offers 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.
As part of this partnership, Birimian will open a representation in Paris to oversee part of its activities, located in Trail’s offices.
“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 African 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”, says Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, Founder and Executive Chair of Birimian Holdings.
“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. Traill has developed strong links with geographically diverse investors and this new step is totally aligned with our mandate”, says Xavier Marin, Managing Partner of Trail Capital.
The first operational investment platform dedicated to African luxury and premium heritage brands, Birimian supports designers on the continent in their growth and international development over the long term. Birimian’s main objective is to accelerate the international emergence of African designers by positioning itself as their main institutional partner in fashion, accessories, beauty & cosmetics, jewelry and gourmet.
Birimian has hence launched a unique accelerator program in partnership with Institut Français de la Mode (“IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa”)
Birimian is aimed at brands that carry the continent’s culture, tradition, history, and cultural heritage, magnificent in its diversity, in their DNA and identity, brands that adapt to modern and contemporary codes.
Trail is an independent European private equity investment firm, with over EUR 850 million cumulated capital managed to date and a portfolio of 12 companies. Trail’s team of seasoned private equity professionals helps high performing small and mid-size European companies scale up in size, scope and geographical boundaries with a specific focus on frontier markets. Trail is committed to long-term, responsible and value-creating investment.