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Highland Europe leads £55M investment in Clare Hornby founded online fashion brand ME+EM

Image credits: ME+EM

ME+EM, which claims to be UK’s first direct-to-consumer online website selling luxury fashion brands just announced to have nabbed £55 million in the latest funding round. The investment round was led by Highland Europe which also invested in Red Sift, and SoSafe recntly.

Also, the round saw participation from 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. With this investment, ME+EM intends to bring its style that is beloved by busy women celebrities, and fashion editors to more international customers. The highly profitable fashion brand aims to accelerate expansion in the US.

US expansion

Demand from US shoppers has created an opportunity to open new stores in New York and Boston. Also, the company intends to accelerate its presence in Australia, the Middle East, Canada, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. Notably, the fashion tech startup already has a strong and fast-growing customer base in these markets.

“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.”

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.”

Female-led sustainable fashion tech

Founded in 2009 by female entrepreneur Clare Hornby, a former advertising executive in London, ME+EM’s clothes are designed for the busy, modern women. Its customers span across age groups, and have a taste for local designer wears

ME+EM claims to work with a commitment to sustainability. It cuts out the middlemen and creates pieces in family-run factories using responsibly sourced materials. More than half of the SS21 collection was made from natural or recycled materials, thereby adhering towards a zero-landfill policy.

Its major competitor Farfetch is also focusing on a mission to become the global platform for good in luxury fashion and intend to embrace sustainability, sourced from all over the world. Another major rival is Zalando is another sustainable fashion platform that claims to leave net-positive impact for people and the planet.

How does it work?

Interested customers can order the brand’s clothes almost online. 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, thereby driving increased sales and loyalty.

ME+EM customer base includes celebrities and fashion editors including the Duchess of Cambridge and Strictly presenter Claudia Winkelman, amongst other style icons. Already, ME+EM has witnessed 3x growth in its revenue globally in 2021 while the entire online fashion industry witnessed 20% growth.

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