Thursday 22 February 2018

Prince George outfitter My 1st Years secures €5.7m in funding for personalised baby fashion

President Barack Obama meeting Prince George
President Barack Obama meeting Prince George

Cara McGoogan

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.

Prince George outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London with his parents Kate Middleton and Prince William.
Prince George outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London with his parents Kate Middleton and Prince William.
2. A close-up of the heir to the throne when he was just one day old.
3. He makes his way out of his christening at St James' Palace as he's held by his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge.
4. Prince William carries George, wearing a replica of a 172-year old royal christening robe, as he arrives with his wife Kate for their son's christening at St James's Palace in London.
5. To celebrate his birth, William and Kate shared this portrait with George and their dog Lupo.
6. Things really kicked up a few notches on the cuteness scale during the royal tour of Australia and New Zealand in April 2014.
7. Where he made faces like this on arrival.
8. Seriously, that outfit.
9. During a visit to the Taronga Zoo, he became a worldwide sensation.
10. Where he met a marsupial also names George.
11. And melted all our hearts with his new stuffed toy Bilby.
12. When he acted like a real baby during a playgroup visit in Wellington.
13. And he came face to face with his arch nemesis.
14. Kensington Palace released this fun photo to mark his first birthday as e visits the Sensational Butterflies exhibition at the Natural History Museum.
15. During a visit to the polo, as every infant is known to do, he took his first public steps.
16. Approaching his second birthday, George stole the show at the polo once again.
17. Seriously.
18. For his first Trooping The Colour, George stole the show among a balcony of royal family members, including Queen Elizabeth II.
19. As he makes his way to see his sister Princess Charlotte for the first time, he's joined by Prince William and the cutest knee socks of all time.
20. Not to mention the haircut.
21. For his official Christmas portrait in 2014, he was full of too-cute poses.
22. In this photo taken by Kate Middleton, George tenderly cradles Princess Charlotte days after her birth.
23. And let's face it, he was never going to play second fiddle to anyone, even his little sister at her christening.
24. When you remembered he's not even two years old and got startled by the crowd.
25. Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte in their 2015 Christmas card.
26. His first day at school was all kinds of nursery was adorable.
The family's first ski holiday
28. His need for a stool in Queen Elizabeth's Royal Mail photoshoot elevated his cuteness to new heights.
29. Nothing will ever top anything more than when he met US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in a monogrammed bathrobe and PJs.
30. Until he facepalmed when Prince William was scolded by the Queen during the Trooping the Colour this year.
31. Prince George walks with his mother, the Ducheess of Cambridge during a visit to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford and stole the show as expected.
32. And he was NOT happy about not having a pair of headphones.
33. Prince George certainly knows how to make an impression.

"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.

Credit: My 1st Years
Credit: My 1st Years

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