Calla Shoes wins British Design Fund’s first investment

Calla Shoes, a Manchester-based footwear brand, has secured backing from the British Design Fund’s first ever wave of investments.

The British Design Fund is an early stage investment fund that specifically invests in early stage UK product design and manufacturing companies. ​The Fund seeks to work with extraordinary entrepreneurs, with scalable products, who are ready to accelerate growth into the retail space and build long term value and thriving stand-out businesses.

Over 100 companies applied for investment

More than 100 companies applied for backing since the British Design Fund launched this year and Calla Shoes, which designs shoes for women with bunions, is one of just two UK brands to receive part of the 500k investment fund.

The company, which currently has an annual turnover of 100k, will use the funding to undertake a strategic marketing campaign which will seek to triple revenue within 12 months, and hit the 1 million pound mark within three years.

Founder of Calla, Jennifer Bailey, from St Helens, will also use the funding to build on overseas partnerships already established since the brand launched in September 2016, and to source innovative materials that complement the already highly-acclaimed range.

Bailey said: “For so long, Calla’s marketing strategy has been executed on less than a shoe string. It’s contributed to steady but maintained growth that has seen us reach some impressive milestones; however, to achieve accelerated growth, I was acutely aware Calla needed third-party investment.

“This has been a long time coming, and I’m thrilled Calla has been recognised as the life-changing product it is. This investment means the business can grow exponentially quickly, adapting to and meeting the huge demand we have from customers in the UK and abroad, and adding to our range to ensure Calla Shoes remains at the forefront of footwear fashion.”

Damon Bonser, CEO of the British Design Fund, said: “The British Design Fund is tailored to support product-based businesses that fulfil a clear need. As soon as we met her, it was immediately clear that Jennifer understands her market, and has applied her experience to come up with a solution to a global issue.

"Thanks to Jennifer’s expertise in marketing, Calla is perfectly primed as a direct-to-consumer selling brand, and we anticipate that, combined with ongoing support from the BDF, Calla will become yet another multi-million pound turnover business emerging from the North West, in a relatively short space of time. “

The British Design Fund is managed by Sapphire Capital Partners LLP, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 565716. ​Sapphire Capital Partners LLP specialises in the management of SEIS and EIS investment funds. Twenty20 Mentoring provide the market expertise to identify and accelerate the growth of each investee company. Twenty20 Mentoring Limited is not an FCA authorised firm and will not be providing any investment services or undertaking any regulated activities in connection with the Fund.

Photo credit: Calla Shoes