London-based eco-friendly clothing startup bags £1M to meet demand for its sustainable fashion care products
Some have called it a fashion crime but the amount of waste in the fashion industry is unfathomable until you start peeling away the layers. The $2.4 trillion fashion industry — with its short trend cycles and massive production rates — was named one of the most polluting sectors in 2021.
According to the United Nations, of the 100 billion fashion items produced every year, 60% are thrown away within twelve months. The Environmental Audit Committee found that 15% of all clothing fabric is thrown out at the cutting stage before anything even ends up in stores.
Here in the United States alone, 70% of the 13 million tons of clothing and footwear waste generated each year ends up in a landfill, according to another report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Now, one startup wants to change by reducing waste in the fashion industry with sustainable textiles. Now one UK tech startup wants to reverse the trend and prolong the life of fashion items.
Enter Clothes Doctor, a London-based eco-friendly clothing care tech startup that serves Harrods, Whistles, Net-a-Porter, and Hush, is on a mission to help people extend the life of their clothes by repairing, altering, restoring, and caring for their wardrobes, the way our parents and grandparents did. By so doing, Clothes Doctor helps reduce the effect of flash fashion and tons of clothing that goes to landfill.
Today, Clothes Doctor announced it has secured £1 million in funding to accelerate growth as consumer demand increases for ways to maintain a sustainable wardrobe and prolong the life of loved fashion items. The round was led by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), with participation from existing private investors and Joanna Jensen, founder of Child’s Farm, Founders Factory, and FSE Angel Network.
Clothes Doctor’s new funding round follows substantial growth within the business- 270% growth last year. The company has also secured partnerships and stockists including Ocado, Harrods, Net-A-Porter, Hush, Whistles, Gant, Johnstons of Elgin, John Smedley, Karen Millen, and more. The investor money will now be directed to Clothes Doctor’s international expansion and making key UK hires across marketing, operations, and sales.
Initially started as a clothing repair business in 2017 by Lulu O’Connor, Clothes Doctor evolved into a supplier of eco-friendly laundry care products, precipitated by the closure of their repair workshop during the Covid-19 lockdown. The products saw strong demand, combining beautiful scents made with real essential oils, effective cleaning power, distinctive packaging, and strong eco credentials. They are already being sold across 5 continents now with 35 different lines, of which their bestsellers are Eco Wash for Cashmere & Wool and their Anti-Moth Scent Bag.
Clothes Doctor CEO said: “Loving your clothes for longer is our company ethos. Our parents and grandparents knew how to care for their clothes and made them last so much longer than we do today. If people can extend the life of their clothes by just nine months it will reduce the carbon, water and landfill footprint of their wardrobe by up to 30%. We are delighted to be expanding our business so that more people are able to use our product range to wash, repair, and care for their clothes, helping them enjoy them for longer and keeping them out of the landfill.”
Headquartered between London and Truro, Cornwall, Clothes Doctor sells direct-to-consumer as well as through wholesale, focusing on premium eco-friendly clothing care products, including detergents, fabric softeners, stain removers, scent bags, and brushes and combs. Their products contain natural ingredients that are fully biodegradable, ocean & animal-friendly, and infinitely recyclable in an efficient closed-loop system.
Meg Salt, Investment Manager, Cornwall at The FSE Group, added: “The all-female team which heads up Clothes Doctor are experts in their field and are full of enthusiasm and determination for what they do. This shows not just in the quality of their product but in the growth, they have achieved to date. The effect plastics and other products are having on our world mean that there will always be a place for eco-friendly solutions and Lulu and her team are scaling up to ensure that their excellent products are part of the answer to the fast fashion crisis. We very much look forward to seeing where the future takes Clothes Doctor.”