Online health and beauty retailer Feelunique.com has sold a majority stake in the business to Palamon Capital Partners and Sirius Equity. With £10m of investment set to be ploughed into the business, Retail Week speaks to co-founder and chief executive Aaron Chatterley about its growth plans.
Why did you choose to do a deal with Palamon Capital and Sirius Equity?
Palamon have a lot of experience in helping businesses of our kind of size to grow, particularly with international growth. They also really understand online retail. Sirius really understands the luxury market.
We can’t say the specific percentage stake the partnership have taken but all of the previous shareholders have stayed and I still have a significant stake.
What are you going to do with the £10m investment?
We’ve got really big plans to build [the business] up quickly in the next few years. We’re targeting far more aggressive growth in the UK market by building the brand through advertising to increase brand awareness.
We will also be investing in infrastructure.
Where do you see yourselves in the next few years?
We’re looking to grow sales to over £100m in the next three years which we think is realistic, and even slightly conservative.
In such a difficult retailing environment, how can you grow so quickly?
The beauty market online is still very much in its infancy and it’s really starting to take off now.
The thing that sets us apart from other companies is the choice and number of brands we have on offer.
We buy directly from the brand, there are no ‘grey’ market products where the product might not be authentic or could be out of date. I think this has given us a very good reputation among the brands, which is enabling us to sell products from Givenchy and Benefit.
How has Christmas trading been so far?
We’re almost finished now with just two weeks to go but it’s been fairly strong, and we’ve seen good growth on last year. Until now we’ve been focused on getting the deal through and it is the best Christmas present. Now we can get on with trading.
New chairman Robert Bensoussan and board member Jim Short have experience of the luxury market, will this help get more brands on board?
It certainly won’t hurt. There are a couple of brands we don’t stock yet.