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Atterley sales up 200% as it launched crowdfunding campaign

Lauretta Roberts
27 April 2020

Atterley, the online fashion marketplace for independent retailers, has reported a 200% uptick in sales during the coronavirus lockdown and has launched a crowdfunding campaign.

The company, led by Edinburgh entrepreneur Mike Welch, is looking to raise £500,000 via its Crowdcube campaign. It is planning to invest the money in improving its technology, adding to its team and expanding its operations internationally, including in the US.

So far the business has 250 fashion retailers worldwide represented on its site selling 2,000 brands and founder and chairman Welch said the marketplace model had been a lifeline for independent retailers during lockdown.

"The beauty of our business model is that instead of operating out of warehouses with stockpiles, our boutique partners provide Atterley with stock and can operate with just one person in each store ensuring safe continuous trading while their doors remain closed to the public.

"We're seeing customer growth on the back of the public wanting to support local boutiques during the pandemic and we've also seen a marked upswing in boutiques wanting to join the platform since the lockdown took hold," Welch said.

Sarah Murray, owner of designer boutique Jane Davidson in Edinburgh, said: "During the current UK lockdown, Atterley provides an additional sales channel which provides boutiques like mine with welcome stability. I also like the sense of community, being part of a collective with other independent retailers in the UK and worldwide."

Alongside the Crowdcube campaign Atterley is also in active conversation with VC investors.

The platform was launched in 2016 as a marketplace by Welch, who had sold his online tyre retail business Blackcircles to Michelin for $100 million in 2014.

It had previously been a multi-brand online boutique set up by former Jigsaw designer Katie Starmer-Smith, but despite backing from William Currie Group and former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy, it entered into administration in 2016. Welch bought it and relaunched using the Farfetch-style marketplace model.

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