Totes Isotoner Sold to Marquee, Randa

Marquee will own the intellectual property and Randa the operating assets.

By Jean E. Pamieri

Two industry heavyweights have teamed up to acquire Totes Isotoner Corp.

Marquee Brands, a leading brand management firm that owns Ben Sherman, BCBG and Martha Stewart among others, has teamed with Randa Apparel & Accessories, the country’s largest accessories manufacturer, to make the purchase.

Financial terms were not disclosed but Marquee has acquired the intellectual property of the company and Randa has acquired the operating assets, including inventory and facilities, and will license the IP from Marquee to design, manufacture and distribute the products.

Totes Isotoner, which is based in Cincinnati, is the leader in weather-related accessories such as umbrellas, gloves and seasonal footwear.

“We are thrilled to bring two industry-leading global brands onto the Marquee platform,” said Heath Golden, chief executive officer of Marquee Brands. “Doing this in partnership with RAA, known globally for their operational and product excellence, makes this even more exciting. Totes and Isotoner, in their core categories, are clear market leaders across geographies, sales channels and tiers of distribution. Looking ahead, we are confident that together we will propel these brands to ever greater heights.”

Golden spent more than six years at Randa before joining Marquee in 2022 and has a thorough understanding of the company. “Randa has always been about innovation and with their brand building prowess and globalization capabilities, they’re the perfect partner,” he said.

For Randa, the deal allows the company to expand its portfolio even further. “It’s a great opportunity for us,” said Justin Spiegel, executive vice president and chief legal officer of Randa. “We’re the leader in the accessories category in North America, especially in belts, wallets and neckwear. This allows us to get into new categories such as umbrellas, and expand gloves.” The deal also allows Randa to expand its retail relationships since Totes and Isotoner have a big presence in the drug and grocery channel, which Randa has not historically serviced, he added.

Golden added that Totes and Isotoner “stand for all things comfort, especially when it comes to weather-related events and we’re seeing a big upswing in that.” It also allows the companies to expand their footprint outside the U.S. since Totes and Isotoner have a strong presence in Europe and other countries.

Totes traces its history to 1924 in Oakley, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, and is best known for its rubber rain boots that it called “totes” to emphasize how portable they were. The company introduced the first foldable, collapsible umbrella in 1970, and expanded its offerings to rain scarves, hats, bags and slipper socks.

Isotoner is even older — it was founded in 1918 when French glovemaker Paul Chanut and American glove reseller Larry Stanton partnered to create the Aris Glove Co. The company developed the first stretchable glove from nylon/elastane with leather straps and named it Isotoner, a blending of the terms isometric and toning. It was purchased by Sara Lee and its name was changed to Aris-Isotoner. It merged with Totes, which by then had been purchased by Bain Capital, in 1997. It changed hands a couple of times before being purchased by Investcorp and Freeman Spogli in 2014. Five years later, a number of its lenders acquired the company.

“We are thrilled to partner with Marquee in advancing our long-term strategy of being a market leader by way of acquiring the Totes and Isotoner brands,” Spiegel said. “By reaching new customers in new markets and expanding our offering to existing customers, we broaden our presence as the trusted experts in apparel and accessories. Marquee and RAA have highly complementary skillsets, which we will deploy to grow these brands in a manner that delights customers and makes our existing and new retail partners more successful.”

Rachel Terrace, chief brand officer for Marquee, said the acquisition also serves to bolster the company’s fashion and lifestyle offerings. Marquee operates three verticals: culinary and home, fashion and lifestyle, and active and outdoor.

Golden added that as a result of Marquee’s appetite for acquisitions, it will be accessing the capital markets and various sources of equity for its next phase of growth. Marquee was created in 2014 by Neuberger Berman and today it manages a portfolio worth in excess of $3 billion in retail sales. Its last acquisition was America’s Test Kitchen and its associated brand in February 2023.

Randa was established over 100 years ago and operates a portfolio of more than 30 brands including Haggar Clothing Co. and Tribal Sportswear, which it acquired in 2019.