- Overshadowing the successful fundraising cycles of Allbirds, Glossier and Quip in recent years, sportswear brand DTC Vuori has raised $ 400 million for a valuation of $ 4 billion from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, the company said on Wednesday. It is four times more than The Biggest Allbirds Funding Round.
- The deal marks one of the largest investments in a private clothing company, according to Vuori, and potentially one of the highest valuations for a non-public clothing brand. Notably, Vuori has been profitable since 2017, just two years after its launch.
- Vuori will use the funds to expand internationally in key markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific next year, as well as to execute an ambitious physical expansion in the United States that will allow it to open 100 stores over the next year. next five years.
Vuori has one main thing that other DTC brands don’t: profitability. And Vuori is well aware of this distinction.
“With a strong e-commerce business, thriving physical stores and a network of premier wholesale partners, Vuori, unlike many other digital native brands, has been profitable since 2017,” the company said in its press release. announcing funding.
That alone may be the source of the massive funding that the sportswear company has managed to raise, which is significantly higher than what many other DTC brands have raised recently. Allbirds, Glossier, and Quip have each raised $ 100 million in recent years, and even those were relatively high compared to other retail companies.
After temporarily suspend physical expansion plans in 2020, Vuori has restarted this year and has even more ambitious plans for the future. With the money in hand from SoftBank’s investment, Vuori plans to open 100 stores in the United States by 2026 and launch as an “omnichannel” business in several international markets. The company will also expand its product assortment – a popular method for many DTC brands looking to capture more market share – and invest in its infrastructure and team.
Sustainability efforts will also be extended. Currently, the brand hopes to eliminate 80% of plastic from its supply chain by 2022, and is already offsetting its carbon and plastic footprint.
While Vuori is basically a DTC brand, the company has also entered into wholesale partnerships with leading retailers like Nordstrom and REI to sell its products. Operating in the popular athleisure space, the company saw sales surge when the pandemic began last year (especially for products like its joggers), and many of those customers returned later in 2020 to buy more. ‘other product categories, senior retail manager Catherine Pike told Retail Dive last year.
The athletics space as a whole has benefited greatly from the trends driven by the pandemic, and Vuori appears to be targeting these competitors as it evolves. A spokesperson in an email noted that the brand had “jumped market share to mainstream brands like Lululemon” as it gained popularity.