Dallas-Based Flip Flip Icon Hari Mari Raises $10M to Step Up Growth and Become a Household Name

After dipping its toes into brick-and-mortar with a Dallas store on Knox Street, the premium sandal brand is now focused squarely on e-commerce and wholesale. Thanks to the new equity round, led by Riveron Founder and former CEO Landon Smith, Hari Mari aims to take a big step forward.

Dallas-based premium sandal brand Hari Mari has relied mostly on organic growth since its 2012 launch. Now—thanks to a new $10 million equity raise—the company is stepping forward into a true scaling-up strategy in the casual footwear and lifestyle space.

Hari Mari’s investment round was led by financial services entrepreneur Landon Smith, founder and former CEO of Dallas-based Riveron, a national business advisory firm. Additional participants include Montgomery Capital Advisors and DWBI Investments. Hari Mari said that after closing, Method Bank will serve as its primary banking facility, while also providing the business with a working line of credit.

“We’re ready to start scaling the brand,” Co-Founder Lila Stewart told Dallas Innovates. “Our growth over these past 12 years, for the most part, has been organic—which is great, but we’re really excited to start advertising, as well as our upcoming and new marketing initiatives in the pipeline.”

Hari Mari Co-Founders Jeremy and Lila Stewart [Photo: Hari Mari]

So what’s the company’s goal?

“To hopefully make Hari Mari a household name in the next several years,” Stewart said. 

Lila’s husband, Jeremy Stewart, is the company’s co-founder and CEO—and he’s on the same page about that lofty ambition.

“Since starting the brand from our garage in 2012, my wife and I have dreamed of growing Hari Mari into a household name,” he said in a statement. ‘Hari Mari makes best-in-class footwear and delivers exceptional value to its great customers. With this raise under our belt, we’re investing in our core high-margin flip flop and slipper lines, expanding our audience reach, and strengthening our position to set Hari Mari up for sustainable, long-term growth in the market.’

Co-founders connected with equity raise leader  through ‘a mutual friend here in Dallas’

Landon Smith

Lila Stewart said she and her husband connected with Landon Smith, who led the $10 million equity raise, through a mutual friend in Dallas.

A serial investor, Smith has served as CEO at Envolve, a corporate wellness consulting program, as well as chairman at Zyyah, a digital home companion that leverages technology, expert knowledge, and relationships to radically simplify home management.

Along with the investment, Smith and his advisory team will serve an active role in helping Hari Mari management shape and advance the company’s strategic goals in the coming months and years, the company said.

“Well-made consumer products in the casual space will serve as growth centers for decades to come,” Smith said in a statement. “We believe Hari Mari is going to be a front-runner in that conversation, and our investment is going to give the brand and its management team the runway to get there. It’s going to be a fun journey.”

[Photo: Hari Mari]

Stepping back from brick-and-mortar to concentrate on e-commerce and wholesale

Hari Mari is known for infusing color and comfort into its distinctive flip flop lines. At its launch, it gained an immediate foothold in the $26 billion global sandal market by featuring a patented “no break-in” MemoryFoamToe and a commitment to crafting high-end casual footwear.

In 2021, Hari Mari opened its first brick-and-mortar store with a splashy new 3,500-square-foot flagship at 3213 Knox Street, in the heart of Dallas’ revitalizing Knox District. But the company closed the store in March 2023 “when Boll & Branch came in and gave us a really nice offer for our lease,” Lila Stewart said.

“Our focus has always been and will always be e-commerce and wholesale,” she added. “That’s our strength. We may try stores again in the future, but it’s not part of our growth conversations currently.”

Hari Mari now has distribution in over 800 retail stores throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas. The brand has recently been picked up by new retailers including Free People and Dillards.

The company also sells its products through HariMari.com, where it offers footwear, sweatshirts, shorts, and joggers ranging from $60 to $160.

Hari Mari’s Dunes flip flop line is the company’s best seller. [Photo: Hari Mari]

Lila Stewart said Hari Hari’s business lands “roughly 50/50” between e-commerce and wholesale. 

“We do have a new division of our business that is growing rapidly, which is our corporate business,” she said, “whether that be corporations wanting to gift Hari Mari’s to their employees or teams or add a logo and customize the product to gift or for further distribution. It’s fun to see that segment of our business take off.”

The company has also slipped into slippers, a relatively new segment that is “doing phenomenally.”

“We’ve made them with Texas shearling, Texas leather, and with all of the comfort you’ll find in our flop flops,” Lila Stewart said. “They’re really nice.”

[Photo: Hari Mari]

A new hire, a new platform, and pop-culture collaborations

With a big chunk of new funding on hand, Hari Mari aims to build on its recent moves and news. The company recently hired Dana Sawyer as its new head of sales. Previously, Sawyer was the head of sales at the American footwear brand Chaco for seven years.

Hari Mari also recently launched its first-ever ladies platform, along with a Grandes line for the company’s “bigger-footed” customers.” Plus, it’s taken its lifestyle brand into pop culture territory by sponsoring two upcoming Texas music festivals and collaborating with Midland, the Grammy-winning Texas band.

[Photo: Hari Mari]

Comfort-steeped concept birthed from ‘Sun’ and ‘Sea’

The Stewarts were inspired to launch Hari Mari after their time in Indonesia, where they both worked on projects to improve kids’ lives. Jeremy filmed a documentary on helping children suffering from hunger in Southeast Asia, and Lila worked with the American Women’s Association, volunteering for orphanages in Jakarta. They’ve continued to be involved in philanthropic activities, with a portion of all Hari Mari sales helping to help families and children battle pediatric cancer through the Flops Fighting Cancer campaign.

Their company’s name? It was influenced by the couple’s time on the far side of the world. “Hari” is Indonesian for “of the sun,” and “Mari” is Latin for “of the sea.”

[Photo: Hari Mari]

Speaking of sun, things are definitely looking bright for the growing Dallas brand. “And to be doing this with incredibly talented people who bring a ton of experience to bear, makes it that much more exhilarating,” Lila Stewart said of Smith and the others involved in the equity raise.

Hari Mari’s Spring 2024 sandal line can be found on HariMari.com, where you’ll also see a full list of the brand’s retail partner stores and locations.

[Photo: Hari Mari]

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