Wool and the Gang

Investment in Wool and the Gang

By October 7, 2013 No Comments

I’m very pleased to let you all know that we have just invested in Wool and the Gang (WATG). We are coming in on the tail end of a $2.8m round led by Index and Wellington that was announced a couple of weeks back.

As with every investment we will make it is the combination of team, product and market that got us excited.

In this case the market for fashion is huge, and within that wool has been on a good run for about ten years, but on its own that wouldn’t be exciting because the competition is fierce. With WATG it is the product and the team that got our juices flowing.

This is how they describe themselves on Crunchbase:

Wool and the Gang is a global fashion brand that believes in exceptional design that’s Made Unique. Never factory made, each Wool and the Gang item is handcrafted or knitted by the Gang – our team of artisans and makers around the world.

Our designs can also be bought as easy-to-follow Knit Kits, which allows you to knit your own customised Wool and the Gang designs at home. Pick up your knitting stix, join our Wool School and #GetYourKnitOn !

The cool thing about this from an investment perspective is that the goods are knitted by a community of makers around the world, aka ‘the Gang’. This community based manufacturing gives much better economics than making clothes in Asia and enables personalisation at scale (knitting on demand). On top of that it brings real value to the company because it’s hard to replicate.

However, none of this would be worth anything if it wasn’t underpinned by a strong brand and high quality product, which brings me to the team. WATG was Co-founded by Central Saint Martins textile design graduates Jade Harwood and Aurelie Popper who previously worked at Alexander McQueen and Balmain. In the five years since the business was founded they have done an awesome job carefully building a strong offline brand based on consistent delivery of high fashion and high quality apparel. They have recently been joined by Lisa Rodwell as CEO who was previously Chief Revenue Officer at Moo. Lisa brings a wealth of internet and commercial experience. This is now a balanced and powerful team. They care deeply about their customers, community and product, but marry that with a hard commercial edge and strong ambition. Finally, the business has a great culture. The passion for WATG almost seems to seep from the walls when you visit their rabbit warren office in Dalston.

Hopefully that gives you a sense of why we were keen to become shareholders in WATG. As is usually the case it’s the combination of market, product and team that gets us there, and as the business model geeks amongst you will have noticed, in this case the clever use of community gives the deal an extra fizz.