True and hush today announce a new partnership to mark the next chapter of the fashion and lifestyle brand’s continued growth story, with True investing in hush in a deal that has been several years in the making and reflects our shared ambition in the digital retail space.
Founded as an online pureplay in 2003 by Mandy Watkins (and jointly run by Mandy and her husband Rupert), hush was originally a collection of beautiful, comfortable pyjamas and loungewear – capsule styles that remain central to the business and are clearly products that have never been more in demand. However, the brand has subsequently grown into all clothing categories (and beyond) and is celebrated by the press and customers alike, with Mandy’s creative influence remaining central to the brand’s laidback aesthetic across the different collections.
The business has quadrupled in size over the last four years (with sales now in excess of £50M) on the back of high quality product and excellent customer engagement – a digital first business that uses its website, social channels and printed media to share lifestyle content such as book recommendations, recipes and interviews with its audience. This has enabled the brand to build a community of loyal customers across all demographics who buy throughout the year, either directly through the hush website or via concessions in John Lewis.
Being a digital retailer from the start has also created within hush a culture and operating model that embraces change, adapts with pace and innovates with pride – principles that we at True share wholeheartedly and clearly are more important than ever in the current climate…
The investment has been made on the back of a strong existing relationship that will allow True to work closely with Mandy, Rupert and the management team at hush to help the brand scale and support its expansions into new channels and markets.
True is Europe’s only vertically integrated retail and consumer innovation and investment firm, and our unique business model includes an innovation hub that engages dynamic founders in the sector as well as a partnership programme that includes leading players such as John Lewis, Abercrombie & Fitch, TJX and Primark.
True will utilise this network to help identify next-generation marketing solutions, products and emerging technologies that can help hush grow its presence, both domestically and internationally.
Matt Truman, Co-Founder and CEO, True:
“At True, we invest in businesses that are at the forefront of the consumer behavioural shift. We have spent several years building a brilliant relationship with the Hush team and we are delighted to be partnering with them for this next stage of growth. The business is ideally positioned to grow its share of both the UK and international clothing markets due to its agile, digital-first business model, loyal customer base and relevant, contemporary product range.
“We think highly profitable, predominantly direct to consumer brands such as hush and other businesses in our portfolio are the ones that will emerge in best shape from this current crisis – and completing the transaction now demonstrates that we’re very much open for business and excited about the opportunity ahead of us.”
Rupert Youngman & Mandy Watkins, hush:
“We’re delighted to be partnering with True. We’ve known Matt and the team at True for a number of years and we’re confident they share the passion we have for our customers, our team and our brand. We’re also excited to build a relationship with an investor who’s in a unique position to help us strengthen all aspects of our business – and we look forward to delivering on the huge opportunity that remains ahead of us.”
Hush will join other businesses within True’s private equity portfolio – Soulfresh, Zwift, Frugi, Ribble Cycles and The Cotswold Company.