The internationally acclaimed, London based shoe label, founded five years ago by sisters Julia Elli
Upper Street

Member Article

Luxury shoe label reaches new heights with overfunding

Luxury made-to-order shoe brand Upper Street, has successfully overfunded its £200,000 target by 15 % through online crowdfunding platform Seedrs, in exchange for a 6.22% stake in the business.

The internationally acclaimed, London based shoe label, founded five years ago by sisters Julia Elliott Brown and Katy Chandler, was worth over £2.8m before the current fundraising. Upper Street has revolutionized shoe shopping and enables women to design their own shoes online using their innovative 3D Shoe Designer. The pair started the business after they both struggled to find shoes that fitted them and suited their individual styles from traditional retailers.

Over the last five years Upper Street has gained wide acclaim as a luxury shoe brand, acquiring its American equivalent, Milk & Honey in July 2014. Backed by Venrex (the venture capital fund behind Notonthehighstreet and Smythson) as well as the British Business Bank, Upper Street, now welcomes over 170 new investors to its business, both professional investors and many loyal customers.

“We believe existing footwear retailers and ready-to-wear brands simply don’t give women the choice, product uniqueness, fit or service they’re looking for, despite the proliferation of footwear styles on the market,” comments CEO Julia Elliott Brown. “The global footwear market is forecast to be worth $500bn by 2018 (Euromonitor March 14), and the luxury footwear market in the UK alone will be worth over £3bn by 2017, and 25-30% of consumers are interested in being able to customize products (Bain & Company 2012), so there is huge untapped potential with very few brands offering any level of customisation.”

The all woman team impressed investors with the company’s

· Double-digit annual revenue growth

· 20% repeat purchase rate, with its top 50 customers all owning over 10 pairs of Upper Street shoes.

· 91% of customers would refer Upper Street to a friend.

· High profile customers include Helena Bonham Carter, Erin O’Connor, Jodie Kidd and Tess Daly.

· Strong social media following

Upper Street’s latest round of investment has been earmarked for marketing initiatives to maximise the impact of a new website, the recent acquisition of a US customer database and to extended the product range to add even more choice for customers.

Shoppers spend an average of £254.50 (ex VAT) per order on the site as the business follows a direct-to-consumer model and with shoe production in-house, gross margins are healthy. The innovative online 3D Shoe Designer allows customers to select from a wide range of contemporary shapes, styles, design finishes, and beautiful luxury materials to create their perfect shoes from over 5 million possibilities. Upper Street offers a number of product lines, from high heeled court shoes, through to ballet flats and high sandals. Boots and flat sandals have launched this year, which should also increase the average order basket and share of wallet significantly. Premium options including luxe materials and personal inscriptions will also increase order value.

“We’re overwhelmed by the support we have received for our crowdfunding campaign and we’re thrilled that so many of our customers have joined the Upper Street family alongside professional investors. We have big plans for this investment and it will accelerate us on our journey to being the UK’s most loved footwear brand. One of the biggest challenges for any growing business is making sure you’re well funded to capitalise on the market opportunity. The luxury footwear market in the UK alone is worth over £3bn so we know this is a dream worth pursuing.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Upper Street .

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