Outdoor clothing brand Passenger gets new investment
Passenger, a UK-based outdoor clothing brand, is gearing up for faster expansion following an investment round that saw £15 million being pumped into the business.
The 11-year-old eco-focused company (it plants a tree for every item it sells), sourced the new cash from the Growth Partner fund, which now owns a “significant minority stake”.
At the same time, former Gymshark CEO Steve Hewitt has invested in the business and now becomes non-executive chairman, while Growth Partner investment director James Worrall joins the board as a non-executive director. And former Gymshark CFO Philip Daw will become a strategic advisor to the firm.
Hampshire-based Passenger was founded by Richard and Alexa Sutcliffe in 2012 and has seen sales accelerating fast in recent periods with £50 million expected in the current year, up from £33 million last year.
It sells 90% of its products via its websites and 10% via strategic retail partners. Some 25% of its sales now happen outside the UK. Its products are 'affordable' with a fleece retailing for around £115, a backpack for £65, and a waterproof jacket for £100.
In 2022, Passenger was in second place on the UK’s Growth 100 list, with a 345% revenue CAGR over two years. It launched new international websites last year and these have grown to 20% of monthly sales within only a year.
Growth Partner head Richard Harpin, who made his fortune from the emergency repairs and improvements business Homeserve, described Passenger as a “purpose-driven brand that truly connects with its customers and is growing at exceptional pace”.
That purpose-driven stance has drawn comparisons with outdoor clothing giant Patagonia, albeit Passenger is much, much smaller for now.
But as well as that tree-planting drive, it shares other features with its larger peer. More than 90% of its products use low-impact materials such as recycled cotton, recycled polyester, hemp and organic cotton.
This approach is one that gives it a strong story to tell and is likely to resonate more and more with modern, eco-conscious consumers who increasingly like to make a difference through the products they buy.
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