True, Europe’s only retail and consumer investment and innovation firm, has acquired a majority stake in organic kids’ clothing makers, Frugi (trading name of Cut4Cloth Ltd.). Frugi designs, manufactures and sells sustainably-sourced organic cotton apparel and accessories for babies, children and new mothers.
True will work with the existing management team to support Frugi’s ongoing scalable growth. In addition, Hugo Adams, former Executive Board Director of Superdry and Chief of Staff at Marks and Spencer, joins as CEO. With extensive sales and marketing experience, Hugo has also worked for Dyson, where he led international growth, and the Body Shop.
Primarily sold via its welovefrugi.com website, alongside retail partners including John Lewis, Zalando, Next and independent stores, Frugi’s fun, ethical, and innovative designs have helped the Cornish company foster a loyal and engaged customer base, notably leading to a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2014. In its manufacturing, Frugi uses only organic cotton or recycled plastic bottles (it recycles 36 to make one of its winter jackets). Frugi also gives 1% of its annual revenue to good causes.
True’s Live Network, including its Startup Innovator and Leading Industry Partner programmes, will help Frugi identify next-generation marketing solutions, products and emerging technologies to accelerate international growth. True’s Leading Industry Partners include: John Lewis, Morrisons, LandSec, Abercrombie & Fitch, TJX and South African and Australian retailer, Woolworths.
Paul Cocker, True’s co-founder: “We invest in businesses, teams and people who forge retail and consumer change. True’s very first investment was pureplay childrenswear e-commerce business, Alex&Alexa, and we are excited to continue to invest in a sector in which we have already achieved significant success. Lucy and Frugi’s approach to product integrity, ethics, brand loyalty and digital fulfilment reflects what modern shoppers want. Frugi has great potential, allowing us to attract someone of Hugo’s calibre to lead the next phase of growth, alongside Lucy and the team.”
Lucy Jewson, Frugi co-founder: “Frugi is built on strong ethical values, so it was important to find an investor that respects this, but also has the experience to help support our future growth, particularly digitally. Paul and the True team – as entrepreneurs themselves – quickly grasped the opportunities and challenges we face as a rapidly growing business. They’re going to protect and enhance Frugi’s innovative and ethical ethos, while helping us reach more likeminded customers around the world.”
Hugo Adams, CEO, Frugi, comments: “Lucy and her team have created something very special with Frugi. For many people, product provenance and corporate ethics are increasingly important; Frugi is part of that awakening, so it’s an exciting time to join. The potential for further growth – here in the UK and beyond – is significant.”