Prince George outfitter My 1st Years secures €5.7m in funding for personalised baby fashion
Personalised baby clothing specialists and online outfitter of high-profile children My 1st Years has secured £5m (€5.7m) in funding to expand its offering for the likes of Prince George, Elton John's children and Mo Farah's.
My 1st Years, which was founded by two friends who met at university back in 2009, has agreed a deal with growth investor Beringea that will go towards improving its personalisation technology and applying data analysis to its work.
Specialists in online retail and tailored clothes, the company sells personalised products include clothing, teddy bears, blankets and silver keepsakes.
"When we launched the business, our aim was to plug the gap and provide quality products in the same amount of time you would have an unpersonalised item," said Daniel Price, co-founder of My 1st Years.
"Because we were early to the party we’ve grown with the personalisation trend and have had to be pretty reactive, adapting our systems to ensure we are able to personalise items the same day. With this funding under our belt we'll be able to enhance our existing proprietary technology."
My 1st Years, which has a £7m turnover, also has plans to use some of the investment to expand into the US. The company's revenues from the online business grew 85pc year on year in 2016. It hasn't disclosed figures for its retail partnerships.
The funding brings the total raised by the company, which has retail partnerships with John Lewis, Harrods, Selfridges, and website Not On The Highstreet, to £7m to date. Previous backers include Lord David Alliance, co-founder of Coats Viyella.
Price and his co-founder initially planned to sell or list the business within four years, but have changed their minds after seeing its success. Expectant parents on average spend around £220m on baby showers, according to Price, let alone gifts, clothing and toys.
"It really struck us that there was a huge untapped market for personalisation," said Price. "When we launched the business our aim was to provide quality products in the same amount of time you would have an unpersonalised item."
Since its launch seven years ago, the company has grown into a leading personalised child gift brand. Prince George notably wore a My 1st Years dressing gown when he met US President Barack Obama.
"Daniel and Jonny are natural entrepreneurs," said Maria Wagner, investment director at Beringea. "What they have achieved so far is particularly impressive given this is their first job out of university."
Beringea has recently invested in a number of online retail businesses, including male fashion site Thread and re-seller Watchfinder.