British direct-to-consumer modern luxury fashion brand ME+EM raises £55m to accelerate international expansion
- Highland Europe, the growth investor behind Matchesfashion.com, Threads and Huel, is leading the investment
- Female-founded ME+EM is seeing triple digit growth as consumers prioritise higher quality purchases with sustainability credentials
- US, Australia and Middle East are key growth geographies
London, 22 March 2022: ME+EM – the UK’s first, and fastest growing direct-to-consumer luxury fashion brand – has raised £55m from investors led by Highland Europe as it looks to bring its intelligent style beloved by busy women celebrities, and fashion editors of all ages to more international customers. Having seen triple digit revenue growth globally the highly profitable brand will accelerate expansion in the US, followed by continental Europe, Australia and the Middle East.
Born out of London but sold and revered globally, ME+EM’s clothes are designed for the busy, modern woman by women. ME+EM customers span the generations and are not prepared to choose between quality and cost. In ME+EM, they have found a brand that combines function and fit with contemporary style, as well as exceptional ethical values.
Founded by British entrepreneur and former advertising executive, Clare Hornby, ME+EM has enjoyed triple digit revenue growth over the past year thanks to its data-driven, purpose-led approach to democratising access to sustainable, long-lasting, contemporary luxury clothing. Every tailored line in its collection is designed around ME+EM’s ‘intelligent style’ ethos – it must flatter and fit, while being functional with a timeless style.
The brand’s sales are almost entirely online, driven by a strong digital presence created through lookbooks, storytelling and a seamless buying journey for its customers. From its curated collections, women can buy individual pieces online and in-store or shop head to toe dressing solutions. Dubbed ‘fashion lego’, ME+EM helps busy women buy items that fit and layer perfectly together at the touch of a button, thus driving increased sales and loyalty.
“From day one we’ve been passionate about democratising luxury for busy women of all ages who want to wear beautifully tailored clothes, made with care and attention to detail, that fit perfectly,” said founder and CEO Clare Hornby. “Having seen soaring demand for our clothes in the US and other key international markets, we know that there is a global appetite for the cut, quality, and style that we have created. As a digital first, data-driven business we are seeing a huge opportunity ahead of us and with Highland Europe’s expertise in this area, we can use technology to delight and serve our customers across the world even more effectively.”
Building on incredible growth
ME+EM’s understanding of the needs and demands of busy, multi-generational, affluent women has seen it become a firm favourite among a growing, loyal base of customers, celebrities and fashion editors worldwide. The brand is regularly worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and Strictly presenter Claudia Winkelman, amongst other style icons.
Such loyalty and brand satisfaction has seen ME+EM achieve triple digit growth in revenues in 2021, compared to circa 20% growth across the whole online fashion sector. Over three years, the brand has quadrupled its revenues and is seeing soaring demand from higher-spending American customers. The US is ME+EM’s fastest growing geography, with triple digit revenue growth.
Demand from US shoppers has created an opportunity to open new stores in New York and Boston. ME+EM is also accelerating expansion in Australia, the Middle East, Canada, Switzerland, and Hong Kong, where it also has a fast-growing customer base.
Style and sustainability without sacrifice
At the heart of ME+EM’s success has been a steadfast commitment to sustainability. By cutting out the middlemen and creating pieces in family-run factories using responsibly sourced materials, ME+EM is able to offer the highest standard at an accessible price. Its data-led approach and direct relationships with manufacturers allow ME+EM to have transparency and visibility across its entire supply chain. The brand is a member of sustainable initiatives such as Better Cotton, as well as the global auditing platform SEDEX and the Ethical Trading Initiative.
More than half of the SS21 collection was made from natural or recycled materials. Its trims, fabrics, samples, and write-off stock are donated to art schools, colleges and charities such as SmartWorks and NEWLIFE. In this way, ME+EM works towards a zero landfill policy.
Sam Brooks, Partner at Highland Europe, said: “ME+EM’s relentless focus on quality, fit and sustainability has inspired an incredibly loyal customer base and has generated impressive growth over the past several years. In addition to the success in the UK we are impressed by the strong demand coming from international customers, a testament to the brand’s global relevance and appeal. Clare is a fantastic leader and we are thrilled to partner with her and the ME+EM team.”
Highland Europe will join existing investors including Sir Charles Dunstone CVO, the executive chairman of TalkTalk, and Venrex Investment Management, which was an early backer of British fintech and decacorn Revolut, makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury, Not on the High Street and fashion shopping app Lyst.
ME+EM was advised by Arrowpoint Advisory on the fundraise.