Formal-focused Queenly makes first acquisition after rapid growth in early 2022 –


Queenlya startup building a clothing market focused on dressing women for formal events announced this morning that it has acquired Mi Padrino, a company built to serve the quinceañera market.

The overlap of the two companies is clear: Quinceañeras, events where girls celebrate their 15th birthday with a big event and graceful attire, is an event variety supported by Queenly’s product. So we didn’t notice the deal because of a lack of synergy, but more because of the relative youth of Queenly itself. has questioned whether the current market downturn would lead to mergers and acquisitions at startup. The Queenly deal is a data point that supports that particular statement.

And Queenly is a startup that some of us at have been eyeing since its days as part of Y Combinator and during its 2021 fundraising events. So when news hit that, despite the company’s relatively modest age, bought something, we picked up the phone. Let’s talk about it.

The growth of Queenly has caught up with Queenly’s CEO Trisha Bantigue this week to discuss the deal and status of her formalwear-focused startup. (If her name sounds familiar, remember that Bantigue got on the Equity podcast in early 2021 to talk about external accelerators and wrote an essay about the mental health implications of building a startup for Fortune in 2022.) What we wanted to know was simple: how is the company performing and why is it buying another startup so early in life?

In terms of performance, the company seems to be doing well. As Queenly is inherently tied to the IRL market, as COVID subsides in the minds of consumers and formal wear events creep back onto our calendars, you could expect it to see rapid growth in recent quarters. Right. Per Bantigue, Queenly’s business has effectively doubled from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, and again from the first quarter of 2022 to the second quarter of this year.

Not all of that growth comes from the company’s original business. Over time, Queenly has expanded her model beyond the resale of clothing by users. It also works with smaller brick and mortar stores for prom and formal wear that do not have a digital presence and has deals with a number of clothing brands to sell directly through its website. Resale remains about 75% of Queenly transactions, according to Bantigue, with a further 15% coming from small business partners and a final 10% from designers themselves.

The Mi Padrino deal

Bantigue said Queenly was initially linked to Mi Padrino through an investor. During an early conversation, Bantigue learned it was for sale. While she didn’t expect to buy another company so early in her startup’s life, she went through a careful process and, after months of research and closing the deal, Queenly’s work to take over the smaller company took about two weeks. completed.

The terms have not been disclosed, but in this case we are not too crazy about it. Why? Because what Queenly bought was not a large, operational company; Mi Padrino had a diminutive in terms of staff by the time it sold. And Queenly will only keep Mi Padrino’s clothing-centric business, leaving the rest of what the acquisition yielded behind. (Recommendations for DJs and photographers are helpful, but they don’t end up neatly in what Queenly does.)

So what is really being sold? Brand, content and history, it seems. The Mi Padrino brand is better known in Latin American circles than Queenly, the latter company explained, and it has a library of content that could help attract more customers to the new parent company. Queenly is getting a deeper slant in a large formal wear market, which could potentially help it maintain its pace of growth — the bulk of Mi Padrino’s revenue came from its clothing-related business, Bantigue said.

In addition to the transaction, Queenly is working on a community aspect of her business that it compared to Sephora’s, as well as a brand ambassador program for the upcoming school year. Finally, co-founder and CTO Kathy Zhou is working on a reverse image search feature so users can bring an image of a dress they love to Queenly, who will then help them find and buy it.

The clothing resale market is big and growing† And despite some problems at Rent the Runway, it is clearly a place where technology will have a home for the long term. Let’s see how fast Queenly can grow in the second half of 2022 and if that shakes up more capital.


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