Online fashion firm reaps benefits of marketing campaign

Ali Hall and Julie Lavington

An online fashion firm founded by two former journalists says investments in marketing are starting to pay dividends.

Sosandar was launched by Ali Hall and Julie Lavington three years ago and is aimed at women looking for higher quality fashion items.

The Cheshire based firm has enjoyed considerable success and has also been boosted by a number of celebrity endorsements.

Celebrities seen wearing Sosandar clothing include Zoe Ball, Susanna Reid, Melanie Sykes and Amanda Holden.

This summer the firm raised £7m through a placing of new shares.

Sosandar was launched in September 2016 and the business model is built around using trend-led, exclusive designs produced in-house and then manufactured using a variety of global suppliers.

Bill Murray, non-executive chairman, will update to shareholders attending the annual general meeting today.

He said: “It has been an exciting time of growth and development for Sosandar. As we approach the end of the first half of the current financial year, I am delighted to report that the increased investment we’ve made into marketing and product is producing very good results.

“Following the completion of our oversubscribed placing in July, we have accelerated our growth by carefully deploying funds to strengthen our design capability, widen our product range and trial additional marketing channels.

“As expected, we’ve seen these activities result in increased customer acquisition alongside continued growth from our ever-expanding base of loyal existing customers.”

He added: “The important autumn period has only just begun but results for the first half of September have been very strong, and midway through September revenue has already exceeded that achieved in September last year.

“September has also seen our first foray into TV advertising with a controlled test in the North West with ITV. Whilst this activity is it still in its infancy, early results are encouraging, which has led to additional testing being undertaken in other TV regions.

“We have also started to use out-of-home digital media for the first time, with Sosandar advertising appearing across digital panels alongside station escalators at key London underground stations including Euston and Kings Cross St Pancras.

“We expect the contribution to brand recognition and awareness that this creates, together with our TV advertising, to be significant and, over time, we are confident it will further support our work in new customer acquisition and retention.

“Recent brochure activity has also delivered strong results, as has social media activity which remains a crucial strand in pulling together our marketing and communications activity.

“Our celebrity fans, such as Amanda Holden and Susanna Reid, combined with a multitude of social influencers, have recently been visible on national media wearing our clothing and sharing their enthusiasm for the brand across their social profiles.

“We continue to measure and assess the impact of all our marketing channels closely, particularly how the expansion into new channels amplifies results, and we are quickly learning a huge amount about what works best for Sosandar and how to accelerate return on investment.

“In recent months our supplier base has been expanded substantially to support the broadening product range. The increasing product range has also contributed to third party platform interest. Sosandar is now successfully trading with Silk Fred and opportunities are presenting themselves to work with other interested parties.

“We are pleased with the recent performance of the business, which has been in line with management expectations. We are well-funded for continued growth and these are extremely exciting times for Sosandar.

“I would like to emphasise again the board’s gratitude and appreciation for the endless hard work and enthusiasm of Julie, Ali and their growing team. We have some amazing talent and Sosandar is increasingly able to attract the best people in the industry. That is testament to the terrific product and first class commercial strategy that the founders oversee.”