Passenger says the two significant partnerships will help it drive international growth plans.
The consumer-specialist investment firm, Growth Partner, which is backed by HomeServe plc founder and chairman Richard Harpin, has invested £15m to acquire a minority stake in Passenger clothing. Steve Hewitt, former CEO of Gymshark is investing alongside Growth Partner and joins Passenger as chairman, as it continues its journey to becoming a leading global outdoor brand.
Founded by Richard and Alexa Sutcliffe in 2012 and based in the New Forest, Passenger is a responsible clothing brand that makes products for the outdoors that blend style, quality and sustainability at an attainable price point. The brand has achieved triple-digit growth year on year since 2019, while being profitable and continuously increasing its investment into environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. Passenger is on track to achieve £50m in sales this year.
For every order that the brand takes, it plants a tree, and over 90% of the product range is made with responsibly sourced materials like recycled cotton, recycled polyester, hemp and organic cotton.
Richard and Alexa were joined by founder of Surfdome, Justin Stone, as executive chairman and Jon Lane as CEO, in 2019, and Passenger has since experienced exceptional growth. In 2022, Passenger was number two on the UK’s Growth 100 list, with a 345% revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over two years. In the last 12 months, Passenger has grown to over £33m in sales, selling over 700,000 items, with 25% of the business now being done outside the UK. Passenger has 40 staff based in the company’s New Forest HQ and a further 20 at its Yorkshire-based distribution centre.
Jon Lane, CEO of Passenger, comments: “At Passenger, we’re delighted to be partnering with Richard and Steve, two outstanding business leaders. As we head into the next stage of our journey, we’ll continue to reinforce our vision and values around being a truly responsible business.”
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Harpin adds: “Justin, Jon, Richard and the wider Passenger team have successfully created an agile, exceptional growth, purpose-driven brand that truly connects with its customers. I’m excited to share my experience and support the outstanding leadership team as Passenger expands into new markets.”
Hewitt comments: “Passenger has been ahead of the curve with ESG and at the forefront of promoting a responsible business position with its international customer base. The consumer’s desire to reconnect with the outdoors and find moments of escapism couldn’t be more relevant today and I’m very excited to be a part of it, working alongside Richard, Justin, Jon and the rest of the team at Passenger. There’s a significant opportunity to reinforce the core UK business and continue to scale the brand in key international markets.”