The Fold, the luxury women’s workwear brand, has raised £1.7 million in its crowdfund, following a successful campaign to encourage more women to invest. Two-thirds of the investors who participated were female, nearly three times higher than the investment platform Crowdcube’s average, and nearly half of them were first-time investors. The Fold’s crowdfund was led by Active Partners, who have invested in brands such as Leon, Soho House, Finisterre, Rapha and Secret Cinema.
Earlier this month the brand launched its ‘Start with One’ campaign fronted by industry heavyweights June Angelides MBE, Rupa Ganatra Popat, Emma Wheeler, and more, which encouraged more women to start investing in order to close the UK’s gender investment gap of almost £600bn.
In Europe, 87% of all VC funding is raised by men-only founding teams, while the proportion of funding raised by women-only teams has dropped from 3% to 1% since 2018. This is despite returns for female investors being almost 2% a year higher on average than those of men.
As a female-led, female-first brand, The Fold’s founder Polly McMaster, saw the crowdfund as an opportunity to mobilise female investors and support women on their journey to financial independence. Over the last decade, The Fold has established itself not only as the luxury workwear brand of choice for ambitious women but as a dedicated campaigning platform to support and empower women in their careers.
Sold in over 80 countries, it has a proven track record of high year-on-year growth (60% per annum,) with ecommerce driving 90% of sales, supported by their flagship London store. The Fold’s designs have been a popular staple for the red carpet and high-profile events over the years, with celebrities such as the Duchess of Cambridge, Oscar-winning actresses Olivia Coleman and Helen Mirren, and many more favouring the brand.
The funding raised through the crowdfund will be used to open new stores, bring their personal styling service to more locations and grow their digital presence.
Polly McMaster, Co-Founder at The Fold said: “It’s been amazing to watch the number of women, many of them first-time investors, participate in our crowdfund. It is so important that women become a force of the investment community. Not only will it influence the types of founders who are getting funded and the types of products launching, but also who is being served by them.”
Janice Cargo, Partner at Active Partners and Board Director at The Fold said: “When we first met Polly in 2015, it was clear very quickly that she was building something special, and she brought the magic and drive to create something truly defining. The success of the crowdfunding and the number of women who have invested is a testament to the exceptional brand and community Polly has built, one which empowers women and champions ambition.
As investors, we have a responsibility to back diverse teams to not only tackle inequality in the funding ecosystem but unlock the huge untapped potential for innovation and economic growth. We’re thrilled to continue supporting Polly and the team in this exciting next stage of The Fold’s growth.”