A luxury fashion distributor for 13 years, MadaLuxe Group continues to evolve into a luxury platform with broad reach, even tequila.
“We’re really focused on the luxury consumer and not just fashion, but anything luxury lifestyle related,” MadaLuxe president and co-founder Sandy Sholl told WWD.
Founded in 2010 by Sholl and his son Adam Freede, New York and Los Angeles-based MadaLuxe began as a distributor of luxury goods and luxury watches to affordable retailers, from Ferragamo, Versace and other designer brands to casinos, jewelry stores and other designer brands. Stores like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The company has opened several lower-priced stores that were permanently closed during the pandemic.
Distribution remains the core of the business. Sholl prefers not to disclose any company’s financials.
However, in 2020, MadaLuxe founded MLG Ventures to invest in technology companies. MadaLuxe has investments in Psykhe AI, a platform that uses psychology-powered artificial intelligence to personalize entire product categories by taking into account the user’s personality; Reflaunt, a business-to-business resale platform, and Codeboxx, a “bootcamp” that teaches coding and tech skills, focusing on women, people of color, and veterans.
The company also launched a mergers and acquisitions arm and two years ago hired Michael Hansen, Luxottica’s former senior vice president of business development.
Just last month, MadaLuxe acquired a majority stake in a six-year-old tequila brand called Enemigo. “We have been looking for a tequila brand for two years because we love tequila as a family and everyone in the company loves tequila. This is a top notch spirit and Tequila Enemigo is a truly outstanding product.
Sholl added that it is also a model that fits perfectly into MadaLuxe’s luxury platform. Enemigo is currently sold in the US, Portugal and the UK, will be available in Mexico and Guatemala later this month, and is targeting other markets for expansion in Europe and the Middle East very soon, according to Sholl.
Last April, MadaLuxe struck a deal with Swedish luxury mattress company Hästens to open 20 Hästens stores in the United States over the next five to seven years. MadaLuxe will have 20 stores as well as products, similar to franchises, but will not have the brand name.
“I’m coming out of COVID[-19]Wellness was such a big and important priority that we saw this opportunity in luxury beds from Hästens and started thinking: If people spend $75,000 to $150,000 on their cars but you spend 33 percent of your time in your bed, why not invest in these handmade beds? , handmade beds? Their beds range in price from about $25,000 to $500,000. They are serious. Thus, we acquired distribution rights in many states and opened our first store in Dallas. It was very successful,” Sholl said.
MadaLuxe’s next move may well be in the retail space. “We are considering an acquisition in the retail space,” Sholl said, without giving specific details.
“MadaLuxe has truly moved towards a technology-enabled luxury platform. “That’s the best way to explain it,” Sholl explained. “And with that, we had an investment arm called MLG Ventures that invested a lot in technology. But we also built a technology-enabled platform internally for MadaLuxe Group.”
Regarding distribution activities, Sholl said, “As a distribution platform in North America, we represent the world’s most iconic luxury brands and continue to grow this business.” “That’s still a big part of the business.”
Separate from MadaLuxe, Sholl said this year he and Freede will launch an AI-powered virtual try-on and styling company called Zelig that leverages machine learning and computer vision. It is expected to be operational late this year.
Touching on philanthropy, Sholl noted that the Sholl-Free family foundation called CommonTerra has taken World of Children under its umbrella. World of Children is an organization that has awarded millions of dollars in donations to dozens of organizations helping vulnerable children around the world for over 25 years.
“We place great emphasis on philanthropy,” Sholl said. “We try to be as impactful as we can by using our success and our voice for philanthropy.”