Acting in behalf of Midcap Funding XVII Trust, which is Hickies’ main lender, Hilco Streambank is seeking bids for the acquisition of the American brand of no-tie shoelaces and related assets on its website by May 20 at the latest, setting a date of May 25 for their auction. The assets include 93 trademarks, 83 patents, domain names, an e-commerce window and inventories consisting of about 358,000 finished packs.

Hilco says that Hickies “disrupted” the footwear market “by creating a patented no-tie shoelace that turns any shoe with shoelace eyelets into a comfortable slip-on.” Hundreds of thousands of shoes sold with pre-installed Hickies laces fetched 30 percent higher sales than shoes with traditional laces, Hilco points out. Working with major retail partners in 29 countries, Hickies has generated sales of more than $60 million since 2015.

Founded in 2011, it went through two funding rounds in 2014 and 2016, leading a Brazilian entrepreneur, Carlos Wizard Martins, to emerge as the major shareholder. Adidas is also a shareholder in addition to other investors including Peter Mahrer, former European director of Under Armour, and Ralf Puschmann. Promoting the system at the ISPO Munich trade show, they stopped running the Hickies Europe subsidiary last June to help save costs, and they are now running their own consultancy, The Sports Solutions.

Interested mostly in pushing sales, the company has not been profitable from the start, in spite of a gross margin of 60 percent. Hickies’ gross revenues have been declining steadily in recent years, going down from $14.4 million in 2017 to $11 million in 2019 and $3.6 million in 2020. About 75 percent of the turnover has been generated through Hickies’ own e-commerce and on the Amazon marketplace.