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Pembroke VCT backs Ro&Zo with £1.5m investment

Lauretta Roberts
07 November 2022

Pembroke VCT, the venture capital trust the has backed fashion brands such as ME+EM and Bella Freud, has invested £1.5 million in growing womenswear label Ro&Zo.

Ro&Zo was established by Rosie Bowden and Zoe de Abreu (pictured above), who had previously worked for fashion supplier Cover Up, just at the pandemic hit in 2020.

Andrew Wolfson, the CEO of Pembroke VCT, told The Times that the brand achieved "phenomenal sales growth in their first year" achieving "north of £4m in sales".

The founders had put their knowledge of manufacturing and wholesale to good use when creating the brand, which sells "original and timeless silouhettes to suit women of all shapes and sizes". Dresses retail for around £89 to £129 while tops start at about £49 moving up to £69.

Ro&Zo is sold via its own website but also through concessions in John Lewis, as well as via Next and Zalando, and is looking into the opening of its first physical retail store.

Pembroke VCT recently made a successful exit from ME+EM, the premium womenswear brand, established by Clare Hornby in 2015. It exited in March of this year achieving 16x its original investment.

Not all of its exits have been so successful, however, as the venture capitalist was obliged to write-off its £4.1m investment in Alexa Chung's label earlier this year after the brand was forced to close. Wolfson, who is the brother of Next CEO Lord Simon Wolfson, admitted the brand was mis-match with Chung's follower base, who were not in a position to pay the elevated prices the brand was asking.

Pembroke also backs Bella Freud, holding a 44% stake, which, according to its own valuation, has doubled in value. It invested around £3.2m in the brand in 2013.

Other businesses it backs in fashion including footwear brand Kat Maconie, tights and underwear label Heist, activewear brand TALA and men's underwear brand JustWears.

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