Beachwear Business Tom & Teddy receives £750k cash injection

Michelle l’Huillier and Jelle de Jong

Bristol-based father and son beachwear business Tom & Teddy is ready to embark on its next growth phase after receiving £350,000 from the government-backed Future Fund – part of a total of £750,000 in new investment.

The sum from the British Business Bank is being matched by an investment of the same size from the business’s shareholders and co-investors.

Tom & Teddy, based in Westbury-on-Trym, has also been awarded a £50,000 bounce back loan for smaller businesses navigating the Covid-19 crisis.

The funds will be used for launching new products, recruiting staff and increased online advertising.

Tom & Teddy, a beachwear range offering matching attire for fathers and sons, was the brainchild of husband and wife team Jelle de Jong and Michelle L’Huillier.

The couple were inspired to set up the business by the beach lifestyle of Australia, where they lived from 1999 to 2008. They then moved to Singapore, from where they launched the range, and relocated with their sons Tom and Alexander to Bristol in 2016.

Turnover at Tom & Teddy was forecast to surpass £2 million this year and it is hoped that the five-year trajectory could see sales top £8 million by 2024.

“This money from the Future Fund, taken together with the matching investment from our shareholders and co-investors, and the bounce back loan, means we now have an additional £750,000 to re-invest in the business,” says Michelle L’Huillier.

“Last year we added polo shirts and T-shirts to our range and in 2021, we plan to launch caps and flip flops, among several other items.

“These funds will also be used for recruitment – we will look to employ a product specialist responsible for creating and updating tech packs, researching new products and liaising with our factories.

“The third strand is advertising. Last year we began to increase the focus on our online channel and have seen a significant increase in online sales as a result. We intend to continue to increase this commitment.”

Tom & Teddy was assisted in the Future Fund application process by Bristol law firm VWV.

Nathan Guest, corporate partner and head of technology at VWV, said: “We are delighted to have supported Tom & Teddy throughout the application and investment process.

“The new investment from the Future Fund will enable Michelle and Jelle to accelerate the growth of the business, including through the development and launch of exciting new product lines. We look forward to working with Tom & Teddy on the next phase of its journey.”