Hope Fashion, the start-up label targeting the mature women’s market, is set to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund digital marketing and international expansion.
The business was founded in September 2015 by Nayna McIntosh, a former director of high street giant Marks & Spencer, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the fashion industry.
McIntosh, whose career also included stints with Next, George at Asda and as part of the management team that launched the Per Una brand, decided to launch the label following her departure from M&S in 2013 at which point she held the position of director, store marketing and design.
“I needed to listen to this inner voice. I didn’t know whether I would get another big job or set up a consultancy,” she said of her decision to take time out from the high street. “I then had what I call my reading, researching and reflecting period. I read a lot and I travelled and I started thinking about where this 50-plus woman was in the market.”
McIntosh, who had turned 50 herself, said she had found it harder and harder to dress and wanted to help other women in the same situation, who wanted to find a label that sat between the high street and the designer market. “[The older woman] represents a third of the fashion market and controls the vast proportion of disposable income. We are unashamedly talking to a 40-plus and 50-plus woman, offering great quality and great shapes that are designed to make you feel fabulous and feel comfortable,” she said.
The brand offers a capsule wardrobe of “foundation” items such as leggings, tube skirts and bodies, along with knitwear, tops and outerwear in a largely neutral palette, which retails from around £55 to £195. It is sold on the brand’s own website and at a small number of independent boutiques.
McIntosh believes the brand has greater potential for wholesale given its “disruptive” approach. Retailers can order in season, there are no minimum order values and stock can delivered within 72 hours.
The brand already has backing from former Marks & Spencer CEO Lord Stuart Rose and McIntosh says the money raised from the crowdfunding campaign will be invested in its digital marketing strategy and in exploring international opportunities. Its website already ships to the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland and a US department store is set to take the brand on as a trial.
The crowdfunding campaign will launch at the end of this month and run for 30 days.