Manchester-based fast fashion footwear business Ego is expecting to generate online sales of £16m in 2017, boosted by a strong Instagram following.
Ego was originally founded as a bricks-and-mortar retailer by Mohammed Fiaz 10 years ago. His son, Adeel Fiaz, launched the online business separately in May 2015.
Two stores continue to trade in the St Johns Shopping Centre in Liverpool and the Manchester Arndale.
Now the online business is predicting a 156% surge in sales for the year to 31 December 2017.
Adeel Fiaz told Drapers he was prompted to launch the ecommerce site by interest from shoppers on Instagram: “I started putting a few styles from the store on Instagram and the orders started flying in. When [reality star] Chloe Lewis Instagrammed a pair, we instantly got 10,000 more followers and 500 email enquiries.”
The website made £50,000 in sales in its first month of trading.
Fiaz credits its celebrity following with the success of the brand in the US, which accounts for 50% of total sales.
“We’re always first on the trends – florals, perspex, denim. We’re always looking at how we can push the brand forward.
“Kendall Jenner and Little Mix wear our product, so that gets a lot of attention,” he added.
Ego is now focusing on growing sales in Russia, France and Australia by targeting local celebrities and influencers with a large social following.
The business began sourcing from UK wholesalers who could turn samples around in five to six weeks but, as the brand built momentum and needed bigger quantities, it shifted production to China. It works directly with manufacturers who can turn styles around in three to four weeks.
The website launches on average 24 to 30 new styles every week.
Fiaz said: “We are continuing to grow our 24-person team and increase our investment in technology to provide shoppers with the best customer journey.”