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News

Gymshark, a sportswear ecommerce brand, is the UK’s fastest-growing fashion firm abroad with an average increase of 115.7% in international sales over the past two years. According to The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, the seven-year-old sports brand achieved international sales of an impressive £143.5m in the year to July 2019, while total sales were £176.2m.

 

Premium handbag brand Radley was the next fashion name on the list at number 40, with 79.11% average growth in international sales, while Yours Clothing secured a place in the ranking for the first time, at number 81, with a 53.22% increase.


Other private fashion companies performing well abroad included Lyle & Scott, which posted international sales of £23.1m in 2019, helping it achieve a 44.55% two-year average international sales growth. Lyle & Scott was ranked 115th overall.

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Fenton & Co., a digital-first fine jewellery brand, has raised over £1.7m in a funding round led by angel investors including Elizabeth Spaulding, president of StitchFix, and Alex Chesterman, founder of Zoopla. Camilla Dolan, whose previous investments include global businesses Gousto, Bloom & Wild and Heist, was also among the participants.

 

Founded in 2018 by Laura Lambert, the business rebels against the traditional methods by which engagement rings are shopped for. Instead, it offers customers the option to create their own designs with ethically mined gemstones and recycled metals through a made-to-order service.
 

 

With a strong presence on Instagram (the social media app accounts for up to 25% of its web traffic), Fenton & Co. is leveraging the power of digital channels to boost its direct-to-consumer business.

 


The funds will be used to invest in new technology, amplify the company’s marketing efforts and expand the growing product line. 

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UK digital bank Starling Bank has raised £60m from its existing investors, Merian Global Investors and JTC. The investment will bring the total raised by Starling to £323m and follows two funding rounds of £105m in aggregate led by Merian in 2019.

 

Starling has opened 1.25m accounts for consumers and small businesses, since launching its banking app in May 2017. It now holds more than £1.25bn on deposit.

 

The new funding will enable the bank to continue its rapid expansion as it disrupts the banking industry and provides genuine competition to the legacy banks.

 

Starling will also award shares to all 800 employees, allowing everyone in the company to share directly in its success.

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Unmind, the workplace mental health platform, has announced it has raised $10m in a Series A funding round. Led by Berlin-based Project A, with the continued support of Felix Capital, the raise is one of the largest series A rounds for a European mental health tech business.

 

Since its launch in 2016, the company has seen fast-growth, growing revenue by more than 300% in 2019. Built on the premise that prevention is better than cure, the platform focuses on helping employees get the most from their personal and professional life. Its customers include some of the UK’s most iconic businesses, such as John Lewis & Partners, ASOS, Just Eat, British Airways and Slaughter & May.

 

The funding will support company growth as well as Unmind's commitment to measurably improve the mental health of employees in workplaces around the world.

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Hurr Collective, the UK-based peer-to-peer wardrobe rental platform, has taken a big step forward and has opened the first rental pop-up, which is being hosted by Selfridges.

 

The company, which won the London Luxury Think Tank Sustainable Startup award, opened its new pop-up concession on Monday in the Contemporary Studio on the third floor and will be there for six months.



It said the link-up “will introduce Selfridges shoppers to the growing world of fashion rental, a market that is expected to reach a value of $1.96bn by 2023”.

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A project aiming to tackle the issue of single use plastic in the beauty industry will roll out thousands of cosmetics vending machines across busy high streets, retail stores, university campuses, train stations and garden centres.

 

The initiative is led by Beauty Kitchen, which is on a mission to create the most effective, natural and sustainable beauty products in the world.



Starting from April 2020, the brand’s refill stations will launch in 1,000 UK locations, helping save over 100 million single use plastic bottles. The roll out is expected to be completed in 2022.

 

Using the touch screen operated machines, consumers will be able to buy the brand’s shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand wash and facial cleanser, which are organic, vegan, microplastic free and Leaping Bunny Certified.

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Fashion and beauty search platform Stylight has released a report tracking the most popular cosmetics products over the last six months, revealing strong performances from Mac and Estée Lauder in lipstick, foundation and skincare.

 

Stylight’s report highlighted some general pricing trends, identifying a high-to-low approach in shoppers’ behaviour, leading to a “varied mix of high-end products and drugstore favourites” at the top of the board in most categories.


 
The study provided the average price of the top 150 products in each category. The average price for the most popular lipsticks came to $27.54, while the figure was $37.16 in the foundation category and $68.22 for skincare. Meanwhile, prices averaged out at $14.22 for nail polish and $102.76 for perfume, which, unsurprisingly, was the most expensive category overall.


 
Founded in 2008, Stylight allows users in 16 countries to compare the prices of more than 27 million products from 1,300 online shops from around the world.

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Diane von Furstenberg is entering the clothing rental market with the launch of DVF Link, a new in-house clothing subscription service. 

 

Available at dvflink.com, DVF Link is an monthly online subscription rental service that gives users access to hundreds of the brand's styles, excluding shoes and accessories, for one flat fee. Users can select four pieces per box, and subscriptions include unlimited exchanges and complimentary shipping both ways. 

 

According to an Allied Market Research report, the global online clothing rental market was valued at $1.013bn in 2017, and is estimated to reach $ 1.856bn by 2023, registering a CAGR of 10.6% from 2017 to 2023.

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Last year’s extremely tough trading conditions saw 55 retail chiefs head for the door, with fashion and luxury experiencing more CEO changes than any other category. 

 

According to a report from Korn Ferry, the global organisational consulting firm, CEO changes in the retail industry surged by 25% in 2019, as companies’ response to the challenges was to seek out new leadership styles. This is the highest churn since 2012, when 56 retail chiefs were ousted and replaced.



The increase in turnover occurred in one of the most difficult years for the retail sector in over a decade. Wavering consumer confidence, coupled with Brexit uncertainty, a general election and rising business rates costs, combined to create an ‘annus horribilis’ for the sector.

 

The research reveals retailers not only opted for fresh talent, but also favoured some functional backgrounds over others. In fact, companies named fewer CEOs with commercial/sales or buying and merchandising backgrounds than in 2018. Instead, the number of retail CEOs with financial experience rose from 15% to 21%, as retailers shifted their focus towards strong financial management, debt restructuring and management of investor relations.

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Patchwork Health, a London, Manchester and Liverpool-based healthtech startup, has raised £3m in funding.

The round was led by Praetura Ventures (£1.9m) with participation from BMJ, the publisher behind The BMJ, and some existing angel investors. In conjunction with the funding, David Foreman, managing director of Praetura Ventures, will also join the Patchwork board as a non-executive director.

Founded by NHS doctors Anas Nader and Jing Ouyang in 2016, Patchwork Health provided a healthtech platform to enable hospitals to fill vacant shifts and to bring flexible working to thousands of clinicians. The company’s technology focuses on enabling NHS Trusts to recruit temporary staff. Through tailored portals for NHS Trusts and an app for clinicians, Patchwork is able to drive up the number of clinicians booking shifts directly with their hospital.

More than 10,000 clinicians across over 30 hospitals already use the Patchwork app, with more than 1 million shift hours booked since launch.

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