£1.5M investment for fashion group

Anna Staevska (The FSE Group), Graham Holbrook (Turtle Doves MD), James Williams (Refined Brands MD), Kim-Marie Button (trading director at Frugi), Chris Farrow (group head of digital at Refined Brands), Jeni Bolton (product and brand director at Frugi), Claudia Thompson (senior manager at Kettlewell Colours), Zoe Bray (Celtic & Co. MD), Karl Headleand (group head of operations at Refined Brands)

St Columb-based ethical fashion group Refined Brands has completed a £6.75 million equity funding round, including £1.5 million of investment by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) from appointed fund manager The FSE Group.

The deal represents the largest single investment by CIOSIF to date and is the largest by funding round size with CIOSIF participation.

The funding, which includes investment from new and existing private investors, will be used to further accelerate the growth of its portfolio companies, both in the UK and internationally which includes:

  • Celtic & Co: Founded by Nick and Kath Whitworth in 1990, and headquartered in Cornwall, Celtic & Co. is a pioneering retailer of ethically sourced, natural sustainable knitwear, footwear and outerwear. The brand continues to stay true to its heritage, with in-house manufacturing of its footwear continuing to take place in Newquay.
  • Frugi: Established by Lucy and Kurt Jewson in 2004, Frugi has built a strong reputation for sustainable childrenswear, using organic cotton throughout their collection as well as designing outerwear made from recycled plastic bottles.
  • Turtle Doves: Founded in 2009 by Kate and Graham Holbrook, and headquartered in Shrewsbury, Turtle Doves uses post-consumer textile waste to create beautifully upcycled new garments and accessories, all manufactured locally to Turtle Doves’ Shropshire base.
  • Kettlewell Colours: Founded in 2004 by Melissa and John Nicholson and headquartered in Somerset, Kettlewell Colours was created to enable women to shop their best colours all year round, working with small, family-run factories in Portugal, Turkey and the UK who share their environmental values.

Refined Brands chairman Ben Barnett said: “The creation of Refined Brands was motivated by a desire to build a differentiated family of sustainable fashion brands, alongside founders and teams that shared our passion and vision. I am delighted to welcome CIOSIF as investors into our expanding group. We value their experience in supporting businesses throughout the region and believe their input will help us achieve our ambitious goals for organic growth in the UK and internationally.”

Anna Staevska, investment manager at The FSE Group, added: “We are delighted to be supporting such a strong business that is headed up by an immensely passionate and experienced team. The group will be further strengthened by the recruitment of 15 new staff members across the manufacturing, customer services and warehouse teams, supported by funding from CIOSIF.

“The sector is wide open to Refined Brands, as the ethical fashion market is growing much faster than the core UK retail industry, and Cornwall is fast becoming a market leading region in the sustainable fashion sector. We look forward to seeing the business develop even further.”