PE investment is perfect fit for fast-growing fashion e-tailer

Adam Frisby

Livingbridge, the mid-market private equity firm, has invested in fast-growing online fashion e-tailer In The Style.

Manchester-based In The Style has grown swiftly since it was founded by chief executive Adam Frisby in his bedroom in 2013.

Its popularity has been in part driven by the business’ royalty-based collaborations with celebrities and fashion influencers including E4’s Binky Felstead, MTV’s Charlotte Crosby and ITVBe’s Billie Faiers along with one of the UK’s leading fashion bloggers Sarah Ashcroft.

Focused on online-only fast fashion, In The Style launches new collections every four to six weeks and lists 200 new items each week, ensuring that the business is always trend led and able to respond to rapidly changing customer demands.

In turn, the firm’s celebrity collaborators are able to benefit from a successful business partnership that allows them to launch their own individual collections, reflecting their own unique style.

The business has a social-first marketing strategy that has seen it build strong brand awareness with more than 1.4 million direct followers on social media alongside a wider social media reach of 18 million via its celebrity collaborators.
In The Style, which currently has 80 employees, more than doubled sales last year to £15m and launched its plus size and active wear ranges earlier this year.

It will be using the investment to scale up its operations which will involve making significant upgrades in IT and infrastructure, growing the team with senior appointments in IT, finance and marketing and expanding its warehouse operations.

The group is targeting revenues in excess of £50m within three years.

Livingbridge has invested growth capital into the business using funds from the Baronsmead Venture Trusts, and has taken a sizable minority shareholding. The investment will help fund In The Style’s expansion plans including new hires and a move into international markets in America and Australia.

The transaction represents Livingbridge’s latest investment in fashion retail, building on the Group’s previous deals with Fat Face and Crew Clothing.

It also adds to Livingbridge’s experience of working with high growth, online first businesses such as ticket aggregator Direct Ferries, online heating oil retailer BoilerJuice and bike retailer Wiggle.

Frisby, said: “I am delighted to have secured this investment from Livingbridge. They are a great investor who understand fast growing businesses in our industry. I set out to create a mobile first brand utilising social media influencers to bring people the very best fashion at affordable prices and I’m delighted that in just 3 years we have established ourselves in the market. I’m incredibly excited about the journey we are on.”

Steve Cordiner, investment director at Livingbridge, said: “In The Style is a natural fit for us given our strong track record of supporting high growth retailers and online businesses.

“Adam has created a strong business with fast fashion expertise combined with a disruptive marketing strategy, collaborating with celebrities and other fashion influencers to deliver exactly what his customers want.

“We believe the business has great potential and look forward to supporting In The Style as it continues its growth trajectory.”