Supply chain platform IBrands Global announced it completed the acquisitions of InCharged, an immersive technology pioneer, and Vendx, a touchscreen vending machine provider. With these two assets, IBrands has created a new company, BluLabs, to act as its innovation arm.
The company has also appointed InCharged and Vendx founder and chief executive Jessica Gonzalez as chief innovation officer of both BluLabs and IBrands Global.
According to IBrands, these moves will allow it to expand beyond its current portfolio of health, wellness, foodservice and fashion brands. IBrands' portfolio companies, including BluZen, bebe, EBY, Alloy Apparel and Pam & Gela, will now have an opportunity to expand into a new form of retail via Vendx's fleet of touchless vending machines, which will open up thousands of locations in 2022, the company said.
"To be a market leader, you can't just create products to fill white space," IBrands chief executive Remy Garson stated. "We're developing products that solve problems and create efficiencies in the lives' of our customers."
InCharged and Vendx are both woman- and minority-owned businesses. They've worked with the likes of Google, Toyota, AT&T, Estee Lauder and DKNY. InCharged, founded in 2009, a cellphone charging station manufacturer and distributor with an extensive outdoor advertising platform. The company has also developed a line of UVC disinfection and air purification technology deployed in schools, hospitals and live events. Vendx vending machine programs uses sampling, social media engagement and gamification to incentivize consumer interaction, while gathering data for brands and marketers.
Both companies share synergies with IBrands. InCharge's line of disinfection and air purification technology pairs well with IBrands' foodservice division, the company said. Throughout the pandemic, IBrands became the country's largest importer of safety equipment to the foodservices industry, tallying more than $200 million in disposable gloves, masks and other necessary supplies. Vendx's touchless vending machine line is a natural fit with IBrands fashion and health and wellness divisions that penetrate the retail market with distribution in over 6,000 retail doors.
"I am ready to roll up my sleeves and make a difference on day one," said Gonzalez. "The IBrands platform with its existing distribution gives me the opportunity to bring my most creative ideas to life with the full support of an execution-focused team, so my creations will reach the masses."
Gonzalez will join the leadership ranks with Marc Garson, IBrands founder and chair; Remy Garson, chief executive; Cole Garson, chief operating officer; and Darryn Garson, chief growth officer.