Sustainable clothing independent Meander Apparel secures funding to kick-start growth

Independent sustainable outdoor lifestyle store Meander Apparel, which two bricks-and-mortar stores in Edinburgh and London – has secured funding from the British Business Bank as it gears up for growth.

Co-founders Jill and Steve Henry received a £25,000 loan from the British Business Bank and Virgin StartUp to support the business’ growth ahead of its first public crowd funding round, which is expected to launch on 13 July. The financial backing enabled the couple to expand Meander’s product line and attract interest from a number of major investors.

Following a successful year that saw revenues jump by 156 per cent, Jill and Steve are now aiming to secure £150,000 investment to boost the business’ retail footprint across more locations in the UK, US and Europe. They are targeting revenues of £1.5 million in 2024.

The brand was born out of Jill’s frustration with existing performance clothing not being stylish and versatile enough for every day wear. Five years on, its customers can now shop from its core collection of Scandi-inspired outdoor clothing – designed to be worn from city to mountain or bike to office. 

Available to purchase in-store and online, Meander’s collection includes t-shirts, shorts, jackets and sweats. The retailer also sells a range of accessories from Scottish brands that share its green values including Tens sunglasses, Ooni pizza ovens and Kingdom Scotland perfumes. 

Meander Apparel’s range is manufactured using recycled and low impact materials, which have been ethically sourced from factories in Scotland and Western Europe. Furthering its mission to make a positive impact on the environment, the brand offsets its carbon emissions by planting trees in Scottish woodlands while donating 1 per cent of its annual sales to environmental charities.

 “We’ve enjoyed a period of sustained success and growth over the past couple of years, but we’ve only just scratched the surface,” says Jill. “As we prepare for the launch of the crowdfunding campaign, finance will remain a key component, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the support and guidance we received from the British Business Bank and Virgin StartUp.

“Creating a brand that does the least possible harm will always remain at the core of our values. Meander is a brand for outdoor lovers and we want to do what we can to ensure we protect the planet that we love to explore. We use mostly recycled, natural and organic materials across our range, but we’re always looking for ways to do better and improve.”

Barry McCulloch, senior manager, UK Network, Scotland at the British Business Bank, adds: “Meander Apparel is a great example of a local business that’s taking the next steps towards a greener future. We’re pleased to support a Scottish independent retailer that’s making a name for itself across UK high streets and showing there’s still a place for bricks-and-mortar retail, with plans to bring its ethical values to more customers across the globe.” 

As well as its Edinburgh-based store, Meander Apparel is also one of five Scottish businesses featured in a pop-up shop at the new Virgin Hotels Edinburgh. The Curiosity Shop showcases sustainable Scottish start-ups that have received funding through Virgin StartUp, and the founders involved recently received business advice from Sir Richard Branson as he attended its official launch earlier this year.