Sustainable clothing brand marks 10-year anniversary with designs on growth

28/05/2024
Alex Feechan (FINDRA)

FINDRA, the Borders-based clothing company which specialises in sustainable outdoor clothing for women, is marking its tenth anniversary with ambitious growth plans, spurred on by a fresh round of investment and crowdfunding drive.

FINDRA was created in 2014 by award-winning Scottish fashion designer Alex Feechan, inspired by her enthusiasm for the outdoors and her desire to create something better than the “shrink it and pink it” approach taken by other outdoor clothing companies.

Fuelled by a new investment round of £300,000 from existing investors, the company has also embarked on a fundraising exercise with Crowdcube to raise a further £300,000.

With the aim of delivering five times its current turnover in the next three years, the new investment will go towards expanding its in-house e-commerce team and developing its product range. Alex and her team are passionate about building an international e-commerce business from the heart of the Scottish borders, finding inspiration from the beautiful landscape and rich textile heritage. The company’s sales predominantly come from online buyers in the UK, but with the ability to ship globally, FINDRA plans to reach new audiences and expand its presence with this new investment.

Alex Feechan said FINDRA’s brand values and sustainable approach to the design and development of its products appeal to a wide audience of active females. She said: “We’re seeing more people, of all ages, wearing outdoor clothing for everyday wear. They look for versatility, functionality and style, elements already incorporated into every item of the FINDRA product offering.

“Building the FINDRA brand and community is not an overnight task. You can look at brands such as Patagonia which has been around for 50 years and has stuck to its core values of creating clothing responsibly.

“This new investment will allow FINDRA to concentrate on our triple bottom line of people, place and planet, growing our community of customers in a considered approach.

“We know that FINDRA’s loyal customer base is deeply connected to our identity as a female-led brand. We understand the importance of representation and empowerment in the outdoor industry. By choosing to crowdfund, we affirm our commitment to our community, knowing they share our vision for inclusivity and innovation. Their unwavering support underscores our belief in creating clothing that not only performs but also resonates with their values and aspirations. Reaching out to our community to ask them to share in this adventure with us felt like the natural way to go.”

Alex also pointed towards similar clothing companies which have undertaken crowdfunding. She said: “Finisterre completed a successful Crowdraise in 2019 and are continuing the crowdfunding route to raise investment and expand on their already engaged community.”

Discussing the issue of current retail trends, economic challenges and sustainability, Alex said: “We’re not unlike a wide variety of businesses in that the combined impact of the pandemic and more recent economic conditions, affected us in a variety of ways. It’s also no surprise that retail habits have shifted in recent years. What we’re seeing is a bit of a move away from the fast-fashion trends of the last decade, towards quality and classical pieces which are longer-lasting but also have a positive impact on our society. That sense of sustainability and value is very much at the forefront of people’s minds, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do to encourage consumers to shop sustainably and choose more ethical brands.”

More than two-thirds of FINDRA’s range is produced in the UK, most of which is made using Merino wool which is environmentally-friendly and more durable than other textiles. One of Alex’s designs, the Stroma Jacket, was selected for permanent display at the National Museum of Scotland. FINDRA’s name comes from a combination of Scandinavian and Gaelic origin which, when combined, translates into ‘a strong mythical female spirit, who is the keeper and protector of the forests, lands and oceans ‘.

FINDRA is a Scottish EDGE winner and Entrepreneurial Spark participant.

Investment and entrepreneurial experts from law firm Harper Macleod have advised FINDRA since 2016 on its investment rounds, commercial property matters, trademark applications and intellectual property.

Jo Nisbet, a partner in the entrepreneurial team at Harper Macleod, said: “Alex is a long-term female entrepreneur who has created a brand and a community with huge potential.

“There are some challenges for women entrepreneurs when it comes to raising investment, so a crowdfunding exercise is a natural step due to the community aspect of the business alongside the longstanding support of existing investors.

“The opportunity to grow the business, adapting to online retail habits and the desire for more sustainable and versatile clothing, means FINDRA is perfectly placed to grow its appeal among a wide range of buyers who are either ethically conscious, outdoor enthusiasts or are looking for products which will stand the test of time.”

Crowdcube is Europe’s largest private market investment platform, connecting companies with retail investors. It was born out of the belief that there should be more options for entrepreneurs to raise capital and that retail investors should have access to an asset class they have traditionally been closed off to.

Crowdcube has raised over £1.4bn for over 1,300 businesses that include Monzo, Revolut, Qonto and BrewDog

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