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Vaultier7 Takes Stake in Cult Sneaker Brand Axel Arigato

Vaultier7 Takes Stake in Cult Sneaker Brand Axel Arigato
From WWD - January 22, 2018

LONDONAxel Arigato, the cult sneaker brand that drops new styles every week, has secured a $7.5 million investment from the newspecialist fund Vaultier7, WWD has learned.Albin Johansson, chief executive officer of the Sweden-based label, said the investment will be put toward consolidating the brands multichannel approach, strengthening online and wholesale, scaling internationally and building on the success of its London flagship in Soho, a cultural hub of music and art events, and collaborations with other emerging brands.The idea is to expand the retail network, and continue with the already-proven store concept in cities and areas that fit the brand values. Primary target cities at this stage are New York, Paris and Copenhagen, said Johansson, adding that the overall aim is to develop and evolve with customers, and build a culture around the brand.The investmentthe brands first major chunk of moneywill also be used to ramp up the clothing and accessories offerings. Axel Arigato, whose creative director is Max Svrdh, has already tested ideas and concepts and plans to build on them, with the first extended clothing collection set to launch for fall 2018.The business partners are in Paris selling the first full clothing collection, which is unisex and composed of 130 pieces, including a puffer, a clutch of Harrington jackets in cotton and corduroy, tracksuit tops and a coat. Going forward, Svrdh said the plan is to do special pieces for women.The brand had done clothing capsules in the past, mostly in cotton jersey.Vaultier7 founders Montse Suarez and Anna Sweeting said they are enthusiastic about partnering with the brand for the next phase of its journey. Axel Arigato has always stood out to us as a clear disrupter in the lifestyle segment, with a distinctive attitude and a digitally shrewd strategy, underpinned with a compelling product offering.Axel Arigato was born as a digitally native brand in 2014 andreached $9 million in turnover in less than three years. Ittakes its inspiration from various elements of Japaneseand digitalculture and its core business is high-end sneakers for men and women. Stockists include Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Brown Thomas, Moda Operandi, Net-a-porter, Selfridges, Nordstrom and Printemps.Svrdh said since the outset, Axel Arigato has used a Drop of the Week strategy, which sees shorter production and delivery lead times and inspires fast sell-throughs. By forgoing traditional channels and engaging with customers directly, we are able to excite our customersno matter the season or any other factors.Going forward, the brand plans to continue with its weekly drops, which in the past have included a mix of items ranging from new sneaker styles to slippers, bathrobes, eye masks and small leather goods.The secret to their quick delivery cycle is a tight relationship with factories, most of which are in Portugal. We try to design in advance and always have a lot of styles in the pipeline, said Svrdh although the team admitted that strategy can be challenging at times.Were sending orders every week, which means we can never go on vacation, said Johansson.The investment is one of the first from Vaultier7 whose aim, according to the founders, is to support challenger brands in the personal-care and lifestyle space and newcomer companies that have a distinctive attitude and a digitally shrewd strategy, underpinned with a compelling product offering.Suarez and Sweeting are looking at companies with revenues of between 3 million pounds and 15 million pounds, and providing growth capital between 2 million pounds and 10 million pounds, with a focus on the U.K. and Europe.They said they want to partner with small companies after the angel investor and venture capital stage, and before midsized private equity players are ready to invest.

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