Coalville-based children’s clothing business, Tiny Explorer Apparel, trading as the Töastie Kids brand, has secured a £300,000 investment to develop a new product range and support a comprehensive marketing campaign.
Töastie Kids received the funding from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), provided by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
The funding will allow the business to retain its current workforce, while creating 10 new positions within the next 3 years, enabling the firm to fulfil new contracts. Töastie Kids also plans to increase the size of its current premises to accommodate future orders.
Töastie Kids manufactures a range of outdoor clothing for children from birth to 14 years. Its main aim is to encourage children to explore the outdoors for better physical and mental health. By the end of 2021, the business plans to have 100% of its apparel range made using at least 40% recycled material. The innovative range includes puffer jackets, gilets, onesies and accessories.
Töastie Kids has launched its range in Next, Harrods and was selected by Selfridges for its ‘Project Earth’ and ‘Bright New Things’ initiatives. The brand has recently been recognised within the fashion industry as platinum winner of “Best Children’s Fashion Brand” in the Junior Design Awards category.
Lucinda Waite, Co-Founder and Director of Tiny Explorer, said: “We believe that every child should have the freedom to explore nature to their hearts content without restriction, and creating products to allow them to do this should not cost the environment a heavy toll, which is why we set about launching Töastie Kids. The range is made in small quantities and for every order placed, we send along with it a seed-bearing lollipop which the children can plant in their gardens or window boxes and watch it grow.”
Andy Moss, Head of Fund at The FSE Group, which manages the MEIF Debt Finance Fund, adds: “The world of fashion is an incredibly fast paced industry and founders, Lucinda and Kirstie, are both very experienced individuals operating in this sector, which is forecast to continue growing. The team has a clear mission and purpose for their sustainable brand which has seen the range perform well in high-end retailers including Harrods, Trotters and Childrensalon. We look forward to the next stage of its journey.”
Lewis Stringer, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “MEIF is actively supporting businesses that are pushing forward the region’s low-carbon and sustainability agenda. We’re delighted to see another manufacturing business, in the textiles sector in Leicestershire, being supported and launching its new product range as it gears up for growth.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), said: “I am very pleased to see another Leicestershire innovative clothing manufacturer get the funding package they need from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund to support their growth plans. This is exactly why the LLEP supports this funding initiative.
“It’s thanks to businesses like this that Leicester and Leicestershire are at the forefront of UK garment manufacturing. This award-winning business is showcasing that locally produced products tick all the boxes when it comes to sustainability, ethical practices and quality.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project 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 and the European Investment Bank.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The scheme ended on 31 March and has been replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme.
The FSE Group, MEIF Debt Finance Fund provides loans between £100,000 and £1.5million to help growing SMEs across the region.