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Marks & Spencer invests in Nobody's Child as third-party brand strategy gains momentum

Tom Bottomley
23 November 2021

Marks & Spencer has taken a 25% stake in eco-conscious fashion brand Nobody’s Child following a successful first year of working together on product for the M&S website.

As the high street retailer’s "Brands at M&S" strategy gains momentum, the new deal will see Nobody’s Child continuing to operate independently but with the opportunity to utilise M&S’s investment and infrastructure to scale the business. Nobody’s Child will also go in to select M&S stores for SS22.

As a partner brand, Nobody’s Child will be able to better utilise M&S’s extensive customer database and its "Sparks" digital loyalty scheme.

M&S will benefit from the agility of Nobody’s Child, including the brand’s focus on near-sourcing supply, which has previously been identified as a growth opportunity.

As the partnership evolves there will be further opportunity for collaboration between the brands, including developing fashion and design talent and sustainability initiatives. Both brands recently launched on rental platform Hire Street and both “share a passion for responsible retailing and making clothes that don’t cost the earth”.

Richard Price, MD of M&S Clothing & Home, said: “Our broad customer base and the reach of M&S.com makes us an attractive platform partner. In turn, introducing brands helps us become more relevant, more often for our 22m customers – offering them a convenient and seamless shopping experience.

“Nobody’s Child was the first brand to launch on M&S.com and has proved incredibly popular with new and existing M&S customers. We will continue to collaboratively develop the offer on our site, whilst now supporting the brand to grow independently as part of the M&S family.”

Jody Plows, CEO on Nobody’s Child, commented: “We are proud of the growth over the last year and particularly our M&S partnership. Nobody’s Child is an independent brand, with a passionate team committed to delivering easy to wear pieces from sustainable fabrics at affordable prices. This remains the driving force behind everything we do. We are delighted this also resonates with the M&S customer and feel Nobody’s Child is perfectly positioned to meet the needs of a wider audience. We are excited to be launching in M&S stores next year.”

Nobody’s Child was founded in 2015 by Andrew Xeni, whose vision was to create an independent, responsible fashion brand. In 2019, Tom Singh, the founder of New Look, joined as a key investor. In 2020, Jody Plows was appointed as CEO, and the brand has significantly grown and built up a strong celebrity following, particularly with its dresses and feminine prints.

M&S is said to be gearing up for CEO Steve Rowe to step down in around 18 months - news which follows recent reports that US private equity house Apollo has taken a look at the high street chain with a view to a potential takeover.

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