The Thrills fashion brand is being sold to Universal Store for $50 million

How three Byron Bay locals turned a shared love of vintage motorcycles into a fashion brand that earned them a $50 million windfall

  • Three Australians from Byron Bay have sold the fashion brand Thrills for $50 million
  • Universal Store bought the brand after it successfully entered the US market
  • The first Thrills store opened on Byron Bay’s high street in 2015
  • They have since opened seven more stores in Australia and one in Japan

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Three Byron Bay locals have turned a decade-long fashion venture into a $50 million windfall after selling their brand to an Australian retail powerhouse.

Married couple Tabitha and Brooke McGregor teamed up with friend Ryan Collins to set up their business ‘Thrills’ 11 years ago – initially setting out to sell vintage motorbikes, but quickly turning the brand into a thriving fashion label.

Australian retail giant Universal Store has now bought the brand just seven months after Thrills was introduced to the US market.

Australian retail giant Universal Stores bought the Thrills brand just seven months after the brand was introduced to the US market (product image is the image)

The first Thrills store opened in 2015 on Byron’s Bay’s high street. Now there are seven more outlets in Australia and one in Japan (product image is the image)

The first Thrills store opened on Byron’s Bay’s high street in 2015.

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There are now seven more outlets in Australia and one in Japan.

Two more stores are also set to open by the end of the year, with the brand generating $34.6 million in sales in fiscal 2022.

The deal with Universal Store is worth $50 million — including $17.5 million in cash and $17.5 million in stock — and should close by the end of the year.

Tabitha (pictured) and Brooke McGregor – a married couple with two children – established Thrills 11 years ago with Ryan Collins, based on a shared love of vintage motorcycles

The founding trio said the brand has transformed along with Byron Bay, the town it was born out of.

‘The development of Byron Bay has been a whirlwind in itself; growing from a small and idyllic seaside town to a world-renowned destination and epicenter for now-global brands, including Thrills,’ they shared Rag trades.

Universal Store CEO Alice Barbery said Thrills was the best-selling third-party brand in her business.

‘I am delighted to cement our partnership with the three founders of Thrills. At Thrills, Brooke, Tabitha and Ryan have built an iconic youth fashion brand and have a proven ability to deliver products that our customers love,’ she said.

“We are excited about the opportunities a closer partnership can provide in both product and brand development as well as further expansion of Thrill’s direct-to-consumer channel.”

Sales through the Universal Store represented about 26 percent of Thrills’ business, accounting for about 9 percent of Universal Store’s 2022 fiscal year sales.

Sales through the Universal Store accounted for about 26 percent of Thrills’ business, accounting for about 9 percent of Universal Store sales in fiscal year 2022 (Thrills product image pictured)

The trio said last year that the brand had been ‘one hell of a ride’.

‘With nothing but a mutual love of vintage motorcycles, we birthed our first business idea; importing bikes from the US and Japan,’ they told Ragtrader.

“With our first shipment of bikes due to arrive in 2011, Brooke and Tabitha returned to their fashion roots to work on a small T-shirt collection and the rest is history.

‘When the t-shirts first launched, Byron Bay and the surrounding area were taken by storm and almost 10 years later, Thrills has evolved into a culture-defining fashion brand, fueled by a passion for music, art and the lifestyle that includes vintage Harleys that are adapted to this day.’

Thrills focuses on sustainability and this has been shown by switching most of their denim range to organic cotton and introducing hemp.

The brand also recently launched an unbleached collection with no dyes or chemicals and has a goal of using only sustainable fabrics by the end of 2022.

Jacky

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