NZ fashion leader Zambesi looking to sell the brand

By Prateek V

New Zealand fashion icon looking to sell its brand, possibly to offshore investors

Zambesi is likely to be sold off to an offshore buyer as the founders confirm they’re ready to retire.

The label was founded by directors, Elizabeth and Neville Findlay 40 years ago, when Elizabeth started selling her own line of clothing in Auckland, in 1979. Since its inception, Zambesi has expanded to include distribution networks in London, Japan and Australia. At its peak the brand boasted standalone stores in Melbourne and Sydney; currently it holds three stores in Auckland, one in Wellington as well its wider distribution network.

The announcement confirms recent speculation that the couple have been looking to sell their long-established brand. Speaking to Stuff, Neville Findlay said the company needed to be sold for its own survival but that the couple do not expect to completely detach themselves from the business.


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The founders hope its new owner is able to expand the brand’s distribution into New York without losing the core ethos of local and sustainable production.

"We have nurtured this brand for four decades and now seems the right time for us to invite the next generation to take Zambesi into the future," Elizabeth said in a statement. "I'd love to help the new custodian for a time; I don't think I could just walk away from this family and brand we've created. That's what Zambesi is: a family of designers, tailors, facilitators and loyal customers, all passionate about fashion."

Elizabeth has asked that any potential buyers do not replace any existing staff and to adhere to the brand’s pattern of social responsibility by hand producing clothes locally and maintain its efforts in sustainability.

The buyer would take control of more than 1,000 samples and 6,000 fabric patterns, dating as far back as the 1970s. Any archives, stores and brand IP would be included in the deal. Elizabeth and Neville are currently looking for buyers in New Zealand and would be open to selling to international fashion companies as well.


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