Keir Reynolds’ fashion accessory shingle Mezzi (MZI.V) has been a work in progress since it debuted, but in a short conversation today, arranged by Rob Barber at Mackie, Reynolds outlaid a good number of milestones achieved that I figure warrant an update to his story.
You may recall, a year or so back, I wrote about Mezzi a lot, with its plan to put smart tech into handbags, allowing a user to track the bag if it went missing, or use the bag to charge a phone as they went about their business.
On the design side, Mezzi was a success. But on the share quote side, it was a constant fight.
Back in the day, MEzzi managed to attract the usual cohort of messageboard naysayers that school about whenever they sense blood in the water, inflating perceived problems and dismissing wins while they short a new stock that doesn’t have a history with which to defend itself.
We’ve all seen it before. Stock goes up nicely on listing, the sharks emerge to beat it up for a few months, stock slides as company actually does the work it set out to do, stock suddenly lifts when the proceeds of that work establish it was, after all, legitimate.
Nutritional High (EAT.C) looks like it’s having that moment right now, as I wrote about earlier today. And after talking to Reynolds, it appears Mezzi may be having the same moment.
Revenues are now not mentioned in hundreds of thousands, or tens of thousands, but rather in the millions. The staff, which turned over a fair amount early on, has settled into a core team that gets in behind Reynolds’ vision. The designs have found their footing, with less selection than previously, but with the selection available being far more focused on what customers are clamoring for. And production has been shifted off-shore, bringing a big increase in margin.
Then there’s the tech, which is upgraded and bad ass.
But the gamechanger is none of the above. The gamechanger is Reynolds’ ability to harness celebrity power.
“When Demi Lovato said, ‘Mezzi is my new favourite bag,’ we sold out of that design in no time, and traffic to our server got to about 80% capacity,” he told me.
Now the plan is to expand on that celebrity pull, with deals in the works to expand last year’s successful pop-up store campaign in cities across North America, and ongoing talks with large department stores about taking Mezzi on through the holiday season.
And then there’s the wholesaling business, which Reynolds says is going gangbusters. And the sunglasses line, which is growing quickly now that it’s using the Mezzi network of manufacturers, sales folks, and designers.
The MLine gun case business, which quickly caught on last year, is still there but not being focused on as hard as the core line.
“It’s just not a high margin business, we found,” says Reynolds, “and it doesn’t gel with the Mezzi brand, if someone were to come in looking to acquire us.”
Still, it makes money and will continue to do so.
This was another deal that I took a little messageboard heat for getting behind, and I’m happy that history has proved out the business, having achieved the sales and brand awareness that naysayers insisted would never happen.
Stock has run from $0.04 in May to as high as $0.135 in mid-August, with a recent slip back to the $0.105 range, putting Mezzi at a $4.9 million market cap, which is definitely undervalued for where the company is currently.
There’s much more going on that I can’t talk about (which also means I can’t buy the stock for a while), but at this price I’ve got MZI back on the watchlist.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: Not a consultant, don’t own the stock, just like the deal more and more, especially for my millennial demographic.