MMC waves goodbye to Wool and the Gang
Congratulations to Wool and the Gang on the announcement of its acquisition by BlueGem Capital Partners. This is a fantastic achievement for the company, and a critical milestone as it continues its journey to produce ethical, quality fashion in a sustainable way.
BlueGem Capital Partners has previously invested in Liberty London and Mamas & Papas. It is now committed to expanding Wool and the Gang as part of the Crafts Group Holdings, alongside other craft businesses such as embroidery thread brand, DMC.
Where it all began…
The origin of Wool and the Gang is a fantastic example of the innovation that is coming out of London. Started by founders Aurelie Popper, Jade Harwood and Elisabeth Sabrier in 2008, their aim was to create a brand that could ethically produce high fashion items by eliminating factory production. In the process they wanted to change the way knitting was perceived and build a brand that could make knitting ‘cool’.
When they launched the business, although Aurelie and Jade had met at London’s Central Saint Martin’s college, the founders initially headed to New York to begin the fundraising process. However after consideration they were given the advice that London really was the place to start a fashion-tech business, and that’s exactly what they did.
Now the DIY fashion brand designs knitted clothing and accessories and allows customers to buy either the pattern to knit themselves, a kit which contains all of the materials needed to make the final article or ready to wear clothing which is knitted by a ‘gang member’ at their home — giving each piece a completely unique feel.
The much loved brand resonates with a multitude of customers and has been featured on the catwalks of London Fashion Week, on the head of Cara Delevingne no less, to the Peter Jones Christmas window, dressing a host of friendly Penguins.
Getting to scale
When MMC first invested we did so on the basis that Wool and the Gang combined two of the mega trends we were seeing in the UK market at the time, the sharing economy and fashion technology. We especially loved the zero waste model ensuring every part of the supply chain was being utilised.
At this time, Wool and the Gang had the three things we look for when backing a business, a solid team with a strong vision for the business and the brand, demonstrable traction in the market collaborating with some of the world’s best known names in fashion including; Giles Deacon, Christopher Raeburn, and Aurélie Bidermann and was proving the market size as they tapped into the huge potential of the maker movement.
As part of the investment Lisa Rodwell, previously at Moo.com came on board as CEO of the business, a great example of the virtuous circle of talent recycling through digitally focused companies. Lisa has proved to be a great leader for the younger creative talent of the founders.
The next part of their journey
We feel privileged to have been associated with the company since our initial investment in 2013, when the company was still in the early stages of its development. Since then, Wool and the Gang gone from strength to strength, shipping its amazing woolly products across the globe, launching an online ‘knitting university’ and partnering with an impressive list of retailers including John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Whistles.
One of the things that has most impressed us as investors is Wool and the Gang’s ability to keep community at the heart of everything it does, from raising additional investment from its customers via Crowdcube, to hosting regular ‘knit in’s’ at its offices in Hackney. It is truly remarkable how the team has managed to stay true to the vision for the brand through years of rapid growth.
We are incredibly excited for Lisa and the rest of the extremely talented team who have, over the last few years, built a truly impressive brand. BlueGem and Crafts Group Holdings is, of course, a fantastic home for Wool and the Gang and we’re excited to see what they will be able build together. We wish Jade, Aurelie, Lisa and the rest of the Gang lots of luck in the next stage of the company’s journey.