£3m investment for burgeoning women’s outdoorwear brand
Deeside-based female-first outdoor clothing brand, ACAI Outdoorwear, has received a £3m investment to help accelerate its UK and international growth plans.
The deal involves a minority stake for Yorkshire-based consumer-focused investment firm Growth Partner, which has offices in Manchester and Newcastle, and is backed by HomeServe founder and CEO, Richard Harpin.
ACAI’s previous investors, DSW Ventures, will be exiting, having supported the business since October 2019.
ACAI was founded in 2016 by fashion designer and entrepreneur Kasia Bromley and her husband Joe. The couple have experienced exceptional growth with ACAI, doubling revenue each year since inception and growing the staff base from four to 25 over the past three years.
Investment into the management team this year has seen Joe step down as CEO and the recruitment of Richard Leedham – ex-Berghaus CEO and Pentland Group executive board member – into the role to lead the next phase of growth.
Kasia, whose design experience included the likes of Alexander McQueen, saw a need for innovation in omen’s outdoor clothing, frustrated by the existing attitude which was based on a male product which had been ‘pinked and shrinked’.
Kasia created a brand with designs that are flattering and empowering to the female form while being stylish and technical in nature. Priding themselves on an evergreen, sustainable ethos, styles are timeless in design, built to last while having technical characteristics such as being water resistant and thermal.
Led by hero product the Skinny Outdoor trouser, the brand has expanded to include outdoor leggings, tops, accessories and recently launched its first jacket, hoodies and mid-layers.
ACAI’s products are tailored for active women and are as well placed hiking in the hills, walking the dog or strolling in a park. The brand has also created the Outdoorsing movement which aims to encourage and inspire more women to embrace the outdoors and benefit from fresh air and time spent together with like-minded women.
This is something Kasia is extremely passionate about, largely influenced by her own experience of the outdoors and positive impact it can have on wellbeing.
This investment will support the acceleration of strategic opportunities for the business, to grow internationally, launch new products and expand from the direct-to-consumer channel. With Growth Partner’s investment and Richard Harpin’s strategic insight, expertise in international expansion and scaling multi-channel consumer businesses, ACAI will embark on its next stage of growth.
Growth Partner investment director, James Worrall, led the deal for Growth Partner and joins the board as non-executive director.
Andy Francey and Fiona Woodhead, at Freeths, provided legal advice, Ian Robinson at Sentio Partners provided financial due diligence, and Ben Martin at One4Zero provided digital due diligence for Growth Partner, while ACAI and its shareholders were advised by Matt Noon and Phil Wallbank at Hill Dickinson.
ACAI creative director, Kasia Bromley, said: “My mission is to inspire more women to get outdoors to enjoy nature for their mental and physical wellbeing.
“Women deserve outdoor clothing which makes them feel great and performs to enhance their confidence. This investment will support ACAI to reach many more women. Joe and I are delighted to be partnering with Richard, James and the Growth Partner team to accelerate ACAI’s growth.”
James Worrall said: “ACAI operates in the outdoorwear market which has experienced significant growth but is yet to be disrupted by a direct-to-consumer, female-first challenger brand. ACAI has successfully created a community of highly engaged brand ambassadors where ACAI is more than a product, it is a brand that is empowering women to be active outdoors.
“We’re extremely excited to be partnering with Kasia, Joe and the team to support them as they introduce the brand to more customers across international markets and via new sales channels.”