Iconic New Zealand childrenswear company Pumpkin Patch was purchased in mid-2017 by Australian ecommerce retailer Catch Group after a messy collapse. The brand was relaunched as a pureplay in December. We chatted with Catch Group co-founder Gabby Leibovich about its performance so far.
Catch Group purchased Pumpkin Patch’s brand, including its customer database, product designs and trademarks, for an amount understood to be about AU$2 million ($2.17m) in March 2017.
Leibovich says the purchase was made with the intention of using Pumpkin Patch’s assets to benefit Catch Group’s existing brands. Among Catch Group’s stable of Australian companies is bargain website Catch of the Day, which today launched in New Zealand; Scoopon; Tiger Global Investment; Grocery Run; Mumgo and Eat Now.
“Pumpkin Patch was first and foremost an acquisition of a database – two million email customers in Australia and New Zealand.”
It’s expensive to acquire new customers on digital channels, Leibovich says, putting the cost at around $50 per person.
“We have a great sourcing capability and a great logistical capability and the part that we need to keep growing is the eyeballs.”
Catch Group has previously acquired Brands Exclusive and The Home for similar reasons. Leibovich says there’s no reason that Pumpkin Patch needs to compete with the rest of Catch Group, saying higher volumes of products can be sold by both parties in a win-win situation.
The December relaunch of Pumpkin Patch was “probably the worst time to launch a new brand”, Leibovich says. He also notes that the new Pumpkin Patch stocked a “not huge” range of products, explaining that designing a brand and its products from the ground up is an “interesting experiment” for Catch Group.
“Our DNA is to buy completed product, and now we have to go to China and manufacture new product.”
“We are learning something new, this is something we’ve never done before.”
However, Leibovich is confident that New Zealanders will warm to Catch Group and its brands, including the new-look Pumpkin Patch.
“New Zealanders trust Australian brands, because your shopping centres are full of them.”