Eveningwear brand and supplier Ariella is seeking investment to help it revive its retail arm and expand into new territories.
Ariella, whose business includes its eponymous mainline, its top-end Ariella Couture collection and the manufacture of own-label eveningwear for 10 UK accounts including John Lewis and House of Fraser, closed its retail arm in 1985 after the death of co-founder Aristos Constantinou.
Ariella plans to open concessions for its premium label Ariella Couture as well as opening a London flagship and launching a transactional website next year. It is seeking funding from external backers for the roll-out, including the HSBC Business Thinking 2010 scheme, which offers up to £5m in lending as well as a cash grant of £100,000 to selected businesses.
Ariella co-founder and chief executive Achilleas Constantinou said: “I’m confident we’ll get substantial finance from HSBC. However, there are several areas we want to grow and that capital would only fund a few elements of that.”
He said that with the right backing, turnover at the business could grow twenty-fold to £100m within 10 years.
Constantinou also wants to expand the Ariella brand’s offer into a complete womenswear collection, by adding soft separates and knitwear. “There is huge potential. We launched a tailoring collection in February 2009 and it had sales of £1.4m in its first year,” he said.
Ariella will also expand its wholesale business into new territories including China, Russia and Japan, as well as targeting the UK indie and home-shopping markets. Constantinou said he would like 400 UK indie stockists and the same number again in Europe.
Ariella won the High Octane Glamour Award at the UK Fashion & Textile Export Awards 2010 last month.