Cornwall based Refined Brands, the digitally native portfolio of ethically sourced, natural and sustainable British brands, has completed a £6.75 million equity funding round, including £1.5 million of investment by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) from appointed fund manager The FSE Group.
The deal represents the largest single investment by CIOSIF to date and is the largest by funding round size with CIOSIF participation.
The funding, which includes investment from new and existing private investors, will be used to further accelerate the growth of its portfolio companies, both in the UK and internationally which includes:
Celtic & Co: Founded by Nick and Kath Whitworth in 1990, and headquartered in Cornwall, Celtic & Co. is a pioneering retailer of ethically sourced, natural sustainable knitwear, footwear and outerwear. The brand continues to stay true to its heritage, with in-house manufacturing of its footwear continuing to take place in Newquay, Cornwall.
Frugi: Established by Lucy and Kurt Jewson in 2004, and headquartered in Cornwall, Frugi has built an exceptional reputation for sustainable childrenswear, using organic cotton throughout their collection as well as designing outerwear made from recycled plastic bottles.
Turtle Doves: Founded in 2009 by Kate and Graham Holbrook, and headquartered in Shrewsbury, Turtle Doves uses post-consumer textile waste to create beautifully upcycled new garments and accessories, all manufactured locally to Turtle Doves’ Shropshire base.
Kettlewell Colours: Founded in 2004 by Melissa and John Nicholson and headquartered in Somerset, Kettlewell Colours was created to enable women to shop their best colours all year round, working with small, family-run factories in Portugal, Turkey and the UK who share their environmental values.
Ben Barnett, Chairman of Refined Brands, said: “The creation of Refined Brands was motivated by a desire to build a differentiated family of sustainable fashion brands, alongside founders and teams that shared our passion and vision. I am delighted to welcome CIOSIF as investors into our expanding group. We value their experience in supporting businesses throughout the region and believe their input will help us achieve our ambitious goals for organic growth in the UK and internationally.”
Anna Staevska, Investment Manager at The FSE Group, added: “We are delighted to be supporting such a strong business that is headed up by an immensely passionate and experienced team. The group will be further strengthened by the recruitment of 15 new staff members across the manufacturing, customer services and warehouse teams, supported by funding from CIOSIF. The sector is wide open to Refined Brands, as the ethical fashion market is growing much faster than the core UK retail industry, and Cornwall is fast becoming a market leading region in the sustainable fashion sector. We look forward to seeing the business develop even further.”
The £40m Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25,000 to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It was established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
John Acornley, LEP non-executive director and chair of the CIOSIF advisory board, said: “Cornwall’s growing reputation as an incubator of tech-savvy, ethical businesses is further boosted by this deal which is helping to establish a new force in the world of ethical and sustainably-sourced fashion.”
Paul Jones, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “This is the Fund’s largest single investment to date and the biggest equity deal CIOSIF has supported. Driving sustainable growth is at the heart of our mission and Refined Brands is another example of a Cornwall-based business that has put sustainability at its core.”
CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
For more information about the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund including how to apply, please visit www.ciosif.co.uk or follow the fund on Twitter at @CIOSIFBBB2