BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active growth capital investor, has led a £2.5 million investment round into sustainable female underwear brand, Stripe & Stare, alongside a consortium of high-profile investors. BGF provided £1.5 million of growth capital with the remaining amount coming from private backers, including Richard Longhurst, co-founder of Lovehoney and Sam Galsworthy of Sipsmith Gin.
Headquartered in Devon, Stripe & Stare was founded in 2017 by friends and business colleagues Katie Lopes and Nicola Piercy, with the aim of creating the most comfortable and eco-friendly knickers in the world.
The Stripe & Stare range of products, which includes underwear, lounge and sleepwear, is made from a material called Modal that is sustainably produced in Austria from beechwood trees. Stripe & Stare knickers are 95% biodegradable and in 2021 they released a world first 100% biodegradable lace underwear collection, meaning they can be put in compost rather than the landfill.
The fast-growth business has grown revenue by over 100% a year for the last three years, driven by an increased demand for sustainable fashion and a buoyant e-commerce market. In addition to its thriving online platform, the brand is stocked by a host of independent and high-end retailers including Selfridges in the UK and Bloomingdales in the US.
Investment will be used to scale the business by increasing employment and production capacity at its Yelverton HQ in Devon in order to drive UK and international sales.
Nicola Piercy, co-founder of Stripe & Stare, said: “The last 12 months has exceeded all expectations for the business. We’ve seen consistently strong organic growth and repeat purchase rates. We’ve created a product that women absolutely love and as a result we’ve received global recognition for our product range.
“In order to move to the next stage of growth it was clear we needed a partner who understood the needs of our company and could provide the support we need to scale. There was clear synergy between Stripe & Stare and the BGF investment team. With a focus on long-term, minority investment and experience of building successful e-commerce businesses, it was clear they were the right partners to take us to the next stage of growth.”
The investment for BGF was led by Daniel Tapson and Hannah Waters.
Daniel Tapson, investor at BGF, said: “Stripe & Stare represents an exciting opportunity to back a fast growth brand which has placed sustainability right at the heart of its business. We have been impressed by the vision and values of Nicola and Katie, two inspirational female founders, who are determined to shake up the fashion industry and are passionate about demonstrating that there is no trade-off between profit and purpose. We look forward to bringing our sector experience to the table in order to support the growth of the brand.”
Stripe & Stare is chaired by Robin Howard, the former menswear and childrenswear director of Boden.
Robin Howard said: “Stripe & Stare has a clear vision to be one of the biggest sustainable fashion brands in the world. As a result of BGF’s backing, and the support of our new investors, we will have the financial footing and strategic guidance to make this a reality.”
Advisers to the deal include:
Legals: Ashfords – Rory Suggett, Brendan Biggs, Ross Van de Velde
Stripe & Stare:
Aethon Partner – David Schreiter, Stephan Werner
Foot Anstey – Kieran Van Bussel, Ken Lewins, Eloise May