EXCLUSIVE: Manzanita Capital Acquires D.S. & Durga

The beauty M&A flurry has finally hit fragrance.

Manzanita Capital — whose portfolio includes Diptyque, Space NK, Malin+Goetz and Susanne Kaufmann — has acquired a majority stake in the Brooklyn-based fragrance brand D.S. & Durga.

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Manzanita is no stranger to fragrance, having also held a stake in Byredo before that company was sold to Puig in 2022.

Partners in business and life, the cofounders David Seth Moltz and Kavi Moltz will stay on to creatively lead the brand through its next phase of growth. Monogram Capital, which first invested in the brand in 2018, will stay on as a minority stakeholder.

“They respect David and I as creatives and want us to do what we do best, which is drive the brand creatively. That’s what we’re going to be able to do now that we’ll be able to hire more people. We’re still a small brand and spread quite thin,” Kavi Moltz said of the new owners. “David doesn’t just make perfume, and I’m not just doing the packaging, branding and design. Hopefully, we will be able to just do more of what we’re good at.”

“We were talking to Manzanita for close to 10 years,” said David Seth Moltz, who also serves as the brand’s perfumer. “The fact that I’m the perfumer and the founder means that we’re so nimble, but we also have such a point of view on what we create. We had to find a partner that wanted to amplify that message.”

D.S. & Durga boasts a core business of fine fragrance, but has also been known to experiment with other formats, from candles and hand sanitizers to car fresheners.

With the infusion, expanding globally — and filling out the team to support that growth — is the brand’s first priority.

“International expansion is something we want to start to conquer a bit more,” Kavi Moltz said. “They’re located in England, they have more boots on the ground, they have more connections. Because of their experiences with other brands, they have a lot of distribution partnerships that could help us.”

She added that the nuances of other key fragrance markets, such as China, would require “major expertise.”

The brand has been on a steep upward trajectory. As reported, sales were said to be in the $8 million to $10 million range at the time of its SoHo boutique opening.

Neither founder commented on sales, but industry sources estimate the brand to have a volume between $35 million and $50 million globally.

The deal follows a few higher-profile acquisitions in recent weeks. To round out the year, Unilever Prestige snapped up hair care brand K18; Shiseido acquired Dr. Dennis Gross hours later. Last week, Yellow Wood Partners acquired ChapStick for $430 million.

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