BIRDWELL BEACH BRITCHES
Santa Ana, CA
Before co-founding Stables Partners, Grayson Morris led the acquisition of Birdwell Beach Britches in the Spring of 2014 and served as CEO for two years. At the time of purchase, Birdwell was a third-generation, family-owned surf apparel manufacturer located in Santa Ana, CA. Birdwell manufactures boardshorts, jackets, and bags for a loyal customer base worldwide.
Recognizing the family’s deep attachment to the business, Grayson first focused on developing a dialogue with the owners to explore the opportunities and challenges facing the company and to gauge their interest in a potential sale. It became clear in these discussions that, while creating liquidity for the family was important, they were just as focused on making sure the next owner continued the tradition of making purpose-built apparel that their grandmother started in 1961. Grayson’s understanding of this context allowed him to plan accordingly, giving the prior owners confidence that Birdwell would remain true to its values while taking steps to modernize and scale the organization following the sale.
Grayson’s action plan for Birdwell included the following key areas:
- Shifted from traditional wholesale model to e-commerce model – driving higher gross margins
- Launched marketing campaigns on facebook and Instagram that increased brand awareness and more than doubled sales in the first full year of operation
- Improved manufacturing process to reduce cost of goods sold by over 40%
- Implemented sophisticated sales forecasting, production planning, and inventory management to support higher sales and further reduce cost
In many ways, Birdwell is a much different company today: it’s bigger, employs more people, and offers a number of new products. But it’s also very much the same. The product continues to be built to the highest standards, in the same original factory, by many of the same employees that have been at Birdwell for decades. Because of his commitment to the founders’ values, Grayson improved the company in a way that honored the legacy of the family that built the business.
Today, Birdwell is thriving and continues to attract customers who appreciate the timeless style and quality craftsmanship that has been a hallmark of Birdwell for over 55 years. This investment is an example of the thoughtful and hands-on approach that Stables Partners will take with our next company.