Acai Activewear, a Cheshire-based clothing brand with ambitions to become the ‘Levi’s of the women’s outdoorwear market’ has raised 350,000 pounds in a funding round led by Dow Schofield Watts Angels (DSW Angels), the business angel network.
Acai has grown rapidly since its launch in 2016, doubling its turnover to more than 1 million pounds this year, and the funding will help the outdoorwear brand expand its product range and meet rising demand.
Founded by husband and wife team Joe and Kasia Bromley, Acai Activewear spotted a gap in the market for outdoorwear for women that didn’t use the “pink and shrink” approach, where brands offer designs created for men but in smaller sizes and different colours.
Acai offers “stylish, functional and comfortable” clothes designed specifically with women in mind, with a highlight being the brand’s skinny trousers, which are made using water repellent soft shell material with breathability and freedom of movement that have proved popular with various consumers ranging from dog walkers and horse riders to animal workers and other professionals.
Kasia Bromley, who studied fashion at Edinburgh College of Art and worked at Alexander McQueen, said in a statement: “Our customers tell us there are no other trousers like ours on the market. We aim to empower women and encourage them to spend more time outdoors by providing the gear for them to do so. The ‘trail to the street’ look means they can walk up a mountain but still look stylish in the pub afterwards.
“The funding will allow us to offer a wider range of styles and products and boost our stock levels, allowing us to keep abreast of the growing demand and fulfil orders more rapidly. Our mission is to become a global brand and make Acai the Levi’s of the women’s outdoor apparel market.”
Fourth investment by DSW Angels
David Smith of DSW Angels added: “Acai is a niche product with loyal and growing customer base and incredibly talented founders. The company has already shown excellent traction on limited investment – considerably better than comparable start-ups we benchmarked – and is on target to double revenue this year. Our investment will turbo-charge its growth.”
This is the fourth investment for DSW Angels, which was founded two years ago to provide scale-up investment to regional early-stage businesses. Last month, DSW Angels secured a 10 million pound commitment from British Business Investments, a commercial subsidiary of the UK government-owned British Business Bank, as the first partner in its Regional Angels Programme.
Photo: Acai Activewear Facebook