I am pleased to announce the launch of this seed round of investment for AIM athleisure. This SEIS & EIS-eligible investment opportunity is now live on the GrowthFunders platform.
Update: the SEIS-eligible tranche of this round closed on 30th June. The remainder of the round is now eligible for EIS.
There has been a growing awareness of the vital contribution exercise makes to physical and mental wellbeing for some time now. Sedentary occupations replacing physical labour and unhealthy dietary choices are contributing to a growing obesity crisis in advanced societies. This has driven a growth in exercise through gyms, sport, yoga studios and personal fitness training as part of a healthier lifestyle.
However, people not only want to feel good, they want to look good - hence the rise of athleisure, clothing for exercise, which fuses fashion with fitness and which is frequently publicly worn by celebrities and role models.
This is now a well-established market, dominated by major brands such as adidas and Nike, but it is still undoubtedly a growing market as the distinctions between work, social and leisure attire are beginning to blur. Consumers increasingly want leisure clothing to perform but also to be attractive and trend-led.
Who are AIM and what do they do?
AIM athleisure (“AIM”) is a start-up clothing and lifestyle brand, specialising in athleisure. AIM designs and produces athleisure wear that is attractive and stylish but which is also comfortable and performs excellently as fitness wear.
Businesses and individuals can work closely with AIM’s design team to select the garments and range and fully customise the colour, print and design of the items to suit their employees, followers and members. Adoption of the latest sportswear sublimation technology allows the fast full colour high definition printing of images and graphics directly onto fabrics, making possible cost effective, short-run productions.
Ethical considerations are central to AIM athleisure’s business model. Its UK-based design and manufacture gives it direct control over labour conditions, minimises the distances to transport to market and therefore the company's carbon footprint.
What have they achieved to date?
To date AIM has:
- Identified its market and developed a route to market strategy
- Developed the brand
- Created the CORE range
- Won Innovative Business of the Year awarded by Sage at the Northern Stars Awards
- Developed a supply chain
- Created effective production capability for short bespoke runs
- Tested and validated the market and its co-branded strategy
- Opened trade channels with gyms
- Targeted end users
- Developed an e-commerce website
- Been stocked by retailers such as Fenwick
- Partnered with Katie Bulmer-Cooke, who has launched her first clothing collection dual branded with AIM and is set to be stocked by a national gym chain
- Created an AIM + Soulgenic collection
- Created an AIM + Yoga Therapies collection
- Created an AIM + Team Alpha collection
- Become revenue generating and is now ready to scale
What is the unmet market need?
Clothing designed for exercise is increasingly being worn as everyday attire, but while these distinctions have been blurred, a demand for exercise and fitness clothing that is also stylish and trend-led is not being met.
At the same time, sports businesses, gyms, health clubs and teams require branded/bespoke specialist clothing of a high quality that looks good and is fashionable for their staff, members and followers. They find it nearly impossible to source leisurewear of this standard at an acceptable price in the limited quantities that their businesses require.
Moreover, an educated and informed modern consumer market is increasingly aware of ethical and environmental problems associated with the production of garments, particularly from Asia, and wants assurance that full account is taken of sustainability and social justice issues.
How big is the athleisure market?
Athleisure, which hardly existed a few short years ago, has grown enormously and globally with an increased awareness of the necessity for exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. This has been accompanied by a huge expansion in gyms and fitness clubs, both independents and chains.
Exercise clothing and leisurewear have moved far beyond the merely functional to become a fashion sector in their own right with their own brands and labels, often championed by celebrities and sports personalities, with the distinctions between leisure, social and work becoming blurred.
The market is far from being congested, with plenty of room for innovative designs and brands to excite the consumer and disrupt the sector. Athleisure clothing sales grew 8% year-on-year to drive a predicted £2.5bn spend on sports clothing in 2017.
AIM is targeting 5% of the serviceable available market, which would equate to 300 gyms/clubs. If each club sells to 200 members with an average annual spend of £100 that would bring a revenue of £6million on B2B sales alone.
The investment round
In this seed round AIM is looking to raise £300,000 in exchange for a 30% equity stake. This equates to a £700,000 pre-money valuation and £1million post money.
This investment capital will be used for:
- Key Hires: to bring immediate key personnel onboard, establishing the sales function and expanding the design team. Alongside this, the business will establish a graduate scheme and apprenticeship program to support the design, production and customisation function.
- Studio: build a fitness studio attached to the design studio to be used for taking photographs and hosting events and classes. This will provide the opportunity for focus groups and to generate product sales through demonstrations.
- Equipment: purchase of an industrial heat press, direct-to-garment printer and embroidery machine so all customisation can be carried out in-house.
- Marketing/business support: G-Labs to be introduced to assist with the development of e-commerce platforms for consumer and trade, facilitating marketing strategy/delivery, including the production of a trade brochure, and supporting with the day-to-day operations such as HR for designing the apprenticeship program;
- E-commerce site development: the new e-commerce platform for AIM will cater for both the retail customer who'll be able to order and customise the product, but will also cater for the trade customer who will have their own section where they can re-order their branded stock.
Find out more about this SEIS and EIS-eligible investment opportunity
This latest investment opportunity is EIS eligible, meaning investors can benefit from up to 30% tax relief, which can help mitigate potential downside risk and enhance potential investor returns. Moreover, pledges made prior to 30th June will benefit from SEIS-eligibility, which means an investor can benefit from up to 50% tax relief.
With full details of the investment opportunity available in the investment documentation, you can view the full opportunity details - and invest in this investment opportunity from as little as £100 - via the pitch page here.