The New Forest company, which plants a tree for every order sold, has seen its sales more than quadruple since 2019 to £11m in 2021 as, fueled by pre-pandemic trends towards a more healthy with nature and well-being outdoors, people are looking for quality, responsible and durable clothing.
* The company was founded by Richard Sutcliffe and his wife Alexa, who live near the headquarters in New Milton, Hampshire, with their five-year-old daughter River;
* Passenger is targeting sales of £100m over the next five years as sales increase in the UK, as well as in North America, Europe and around the world.
* Ranked third in the Lightning 50, a recently published list of the UK’s fastest growing e-commerce brand created by pearlshininga world leading retail operating system.
Outdoor clothing brand Passenger is gearing up for global expansion by being named one of the UK’s fastest growing online businesses.
The New Forest company, which plants a tree for every order sold, has seen its sales more than quadruple since 2019 to £11m in 2021 as, fueled by pre-pandemic trends towards a more healthy with nature and well-being in the open air, travel lovers seek quality, sustainable and durable garments;
Passenger was founded ten years ago by Richard Sutcliffe and his wife Alexa, a former Estee Lauder designer, who live near the headquarters in New Milton, Hampshire, with their five-year-old daughter River.
Passenger is targeting sales of £100m over the next five years as sales increase in the UK, as well as in the US, Germany and around the world.
It was ranked third in the Lightning 50, a recently published list of the fastest growing e-commerce brands in the UK created by pearlshininga world leading retail operating system.
The researchers tracked the growth rates of hundreds of companies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Sutcliffe, 39, said: “We are delighted to be named one of the fastest growing online brands in the UK by Brightpearl.
“It’s great that we get so many customers from all over the world who share our love of escapism and the great outdoors.
“We are a responsible company that makes outdoor clothing that is great for everyday wear and allows you to go out for your own escapism where we all unplug to recharge in today’s busy, always-on world.
“Early on we realized that if we were going to build a brand based on sustainability and outdoor living, we had to give back to the environment more than we take and that is ingrained in our DNA from day one.
“A key part of our success has also been instilling our responsible values in our clothing, ensuring the best quality and delivering it at an affordable price.
“We see a clear path to £100m sales and don’t feel like we’ve made the most of the opportunity at all. There is much more we can do.”
Passenger is riding a movement that has seen outdoor gear sales grow by 19% in Europe last year (source: IPSO 2022) and Passenger’s best-selling men’s and women’s products include outerwear, fleeces and backpacks.
The brand updates each month on its website the number of trees it has planted and currently amounts to 325,208.
Plant native species and work with respected environmental partners around the world, including in the South American rainforest. They are currently financing the planting of fruit trees in Africa.
Sutcliffe said: “We choose our partners very carefully to plant the right trees in the right places. We need to give a true voice to the customer. Every year there is a large area of tropical forest that we are trying to protect and maintain.”
Being based in the New Forest has played a crucial role in developing the brand’s ethos, with trees and water in close proximity, reflecting the borderless appeal of two of nature’s most impressive features.
Recognizing that the company needed additional skills to realize its potential, Richard brought on business partners Justin Stone and Jon Lane, as Executive Chairman and CEO respectively, in 2018 to help run the company.
“Together we have transformed the business and built Passenger 2.0 which has enabled us to realize the potential of Passenger,” explained Sutcliffe.
Employee numbers at Passenger are up to 25 and with a global sales footprint, there are plans to open new warehouses around the world as direct-to-consumer and wholesale sales grow, with international sales now accounting for 30 % of total (versus 2% just 12 months ago).
Passenger hired Bristol-based Brightpearl to run its multi-channel retail operation earlier this year and help deliver on its global expansion plans.
Sutcliffe said: “Brightpearl allows us to seamlessly transition to a new level of growth.
“We do over £11m as a direct-to-consumer business, but we knew we needed a platform component that would allow us to manage wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales, as well as future-proof the business for our global expansion with in-stock. multiple locations.
“That’s where Brightpearl came in. We knew we needed to bring in a Retail Operating System (ROS) to manage that and we knew we didn’t have that in our existing technology stack.
“We got Brightpearl live in just 80 days, faster than the planned 100-day rollout, and it’s been up and running for us for two months now and it’s been great. He’s running our new warehouse and it’s really changed the way we run some of the key processes as a business and solved a couple of real pain points that we really needed to solve.”
To compile the Lightning 50, Brightpearl asked brands to submit annual growth figures from 2020 to 2021, with each brand ranked solely on its percentage of net growth during that time period.
The UK Lightning 50 top ten, what they sell and the growth recorded for each company are:
1 Pinter (home brewing) – 626% growth
2. Progress JJ (Jui Jitsu clothing) – 446%
3. Passenger Clothes (fashion clothes for travel lovers) – 362%
4, Kick Game (sneakers and streetwear) – 353%
5 Wild Cosmetic (Deodorant Redefined) – 322%
6 Naturecan (CBD products) – 220%
7 Naturewall Group (wood slat wall panels for homes) – 221%
8 Center of Excellence (life-changing e-learning) – 207%
9 Tradeprices Bathrooms (bathroom accessories at discount trade prices) – 175%
10. Gym Plus Coffee (quality hoodies for gym goers) – 169%
The full list of Lightning 50 can be found here
Last year’s Lightning 50 winner was another spirits brand: Swansea friends Charlie Morgan, 26, and Jackson Quinn, 29, with their brand Au Vodka. The couple experienced dizzying growth and saw the friends make the Times Young Rich List and Au Vodka become a game changer within the alcohol industry.
Brightpearl CEO Derek O’Carroll said: “When we consider the unpredictability and uncertainty of the past few years, from the pandemic to the global supply chain crisis to skyrocketing costs brought on by the Ukraine war, With high rates of inflation and rising costs of living, it’s easy to paint a bleak picture for business.
“There is no doubt that retailers have many hurdles to overcome. However, many have come to this, and now that we have the results, we can see that some companies are not only showing resilience, but are absolutely thriving, despite difficult circumstances. When we look behind the data, there is a mix of factors for that success, driven primarily by people and the innovative data-driven technologies they use that enable them to react quickly to the challenges they face.
“It’s fantastic to be able to once again celebrate and recognize the hard work that has gone into this growth, and I’d like to congratulate everyone who made it to the Lightning 50 list.”
Andrew Busby, Global Industry Analyst at Retail, said: “The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns gave rise to a whole new genre of eCommerce entrepreneurs. What’s interesting about the Brightpearl Lightning 50 is that the fastest growing e-commerce brands aren’t necessarily household names.
“However, one thing characterizes them, they know their market and their customer and have a laser-like approach to meeting them.
“It’s brilliant, but it’s not really surprising that the UK now dominates e-commerce. The UK has been at the forefront of e-commerce innovation and growth and shows no sign of letting up after the pandemic.”
Bristol-based Brightpearl works with thousands of retailers to introduce software that automates retail complexity and puts ordering, inventory, financials, POS (point of sale) and CRM (customer relationship management) in one place so you can brands can grow without fear.