Ullman Scores Huge Victory for Future of Brand

Published on June 26th, 2013

The Ullman Sails group was founded in 1967, and those early years were successful largely due to the exploits of its leader, Dave Ullman. It all began in the coastal community of Newport Beach, CA, but has grown far and wide since then.

Dave sold his original sail loft in 2007, and with all the facilities in the group independently owned (now over 80 locations in 31 countries), he focused his interests on Ullman Sails International, Inc. (USI), the licensing company of the group which owns and manages the brand.

But now at 67 years old, it was time to look beyond his term, which has led to the newly announced union (click here to read) with Jannie Reuvers Sails of South Africa. Key to the alliance is a major sail manufacturing facility and state-of-the-art membrane plant in Cape Town, and an investor group including Reuvers that has purchased ownership of USI.

“At our last Ullman Sails’ meeting in 2012, I said that the continuation of my term would be for a minimum of five years, and while my commitment might get extended, that would take me until I am 71 years old,” explained Ullman. “But before that happened, I wanted to establish a good long-term plan for Ullman Sails, and this allows that to happen.”

Over a 35 year period, Reuvers’ Cape Town production facility built approximately 80,000 sails, including building sails for the Quantum Sail Design Group for 15 years and many boat manufacturers like Gunboats Catamarans and super yacht sails for Southern Wind Shipyards. During this period, Reuvers identified the need to play some part in the direction and marketing of the brands for which he has built sails. To fulfill this need and create some long term stability, Reuvers sought out a brand to be affiliated with and thereby have some influence over, which led to the investment in Ullman Sails.

“We were already quite familiar with each other from within the sailmaking industry,” remarked Ullman. “We respected each other’s business ethic and found the idea to be a great fit for both his group and ours.”

The independently owned Ullman Sails lofts will continue to operate as they have, and may choose to either build in-house or leverage the South African facility. “It is our expectation that the benefits of the increased capacity will lead the lofts to increase their reliance on it,” said Ullman.

“These changes dramatically increase our size,” Ullman said. “Their manufacturing output is impressive, and this will allow for further growth within the Ullman Sails system. For the short term, the facility will continue to build sails for other brands, but this will be reduced as the demand for Ullman Sails increases.”

“This move is a huge victory, not just for both businesses, but for all our employees and customers,” explained Ullman. “I am excited about having a long-term financed Ullman Sails, which will continue to operate, grow and be a leader in the industry long after my departure.”


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