British textile house Holland & Sherry has entered an agreement to acquire rug and textile manufacturer Elizabeth Eakins Inc., the companies confirmed on Tuesday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both stress that the acquisition is the result of two like-minded brands planning for the future, not a bellwether of tough times.
“Elizabeth is someone we have profound respect for,” Bryan Dicker, president of the interiors division at Holland & Sherry, tells Business of Home. “This acquisition was well researched financially, but it also had a certain level of mutual admiration, which is just as important. We like to surround ourselves with talented people.”
Led by Elizabeth Eakins and Scott Lethbridge, Elizabeth Eakins Inc. has been producing handmade textiles and rugs for 40 years. In 2015, Eakins collaborated with Holland & Sherry to design an exclusive collection of linens. A week after confirming the partnership, Dicker recalls, Eakins flew to the company’s mill in Chile and had a collection ready to launch in five months—a feat that typically takes a year and a half.
“Elizabeth Eakins Inc. is an icon in the rug and textile design industry. We are excited to have Elizabeth and Scott and their considerable expertise and design vision join our growing company,” says Dicker. “Our goal at Holland & Sherry is to provide unique, custom-designed and vertically integrated products. Our alignment with Elizabeth Eakins further enhances our ability to deliver these products for our discerning customers.”
The cordial business partners were discussing succession plans when the conversation shifted to a potential acquisition. “At Holland & Sherry, our culture and goals for the future are best for [Eakins’s] career, her partner’s career, and the future of the company,” says Dicker. “[It’s] an honor to be the trustee.”
Following the acquisition, Elizabeth Eakins Inc. will remain headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, and operate independently under the Holland & Sherry group. “We are proud to say that all 33 employees will be retained and that we will be working together to combine our assets for a more profitable future,” says Dicker.
For Eakins, an important factor in the deal is Holland & Sherry’s employee-owned operation, which she sees as a promising sign for growing her eponymous company and its talent. “We at Elizabeth Eakins Inc. view this as a wonderful opportunity for a small company that is artisanally focused to join a larger firm with additional scale and capabilities in distribution and interior design industry relationships,” says the founder and chief creative officer. “Moreover, the fact that our companies are like-minded with a strong focus on quality and design will give our employees greater opportunity for growth.”