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Brand values and engagement key to Frugi’s acquisition by True

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Private equity company True has bought organic children’s clothing maker Frugi, and says that its brand values and brand engagement were a key attraction. 

It says the Cornish brand, in which it has taken a majority stake, fits with its understanding of what customers now want. 

“We invest in businesses, teams and people who forge retail and consumer change,” says Paul Cocker, co-founder of True. “True’s very first investment was pureplay childrenswear ecommerce business Alex&Alexa and we are excited to continue to invest in a sector in which we have already achieved significant success. Lucy and Frugi’s approach to product integrity, ethics, brand loyalty and digital fulfilment reflects what modern shoppers want.”

True is bringing in Hugo Adams as chief executive of Frugi, as it looks towards international expansion. Adams has previously worked for Dyson,where he led international growth, and at the Body Shop. He was chief of staff at Marks & Spencer and has been on the board at Superdry. 

“Frugi has great potential, allowing us to attract someone of Hugo’s calibre to lead the next phase of growth, alongside Lucy and the team,” says Cocker.

Adams says: “For many people, product provenance and corporate ethics are increasingly important; Frugi is part of that awakening so it’s an exciting time to join. The potential for further growth – here in the UK and beyond – is significant.”

True’s private equity portfolio also includes Ribble Cycles and The Cotswold Company.

The investor says its Live Network will help Frugi find next-generation marketing solutions, products and emerging technologies to help international expansion. The Live Network includes Startup Innovator and Leading Industry Partner programmes. Partners in the latter programme include John Lewis, Morrisons, Land Securities and Abercrombie & Fitch. 

Frugi is currently sold via its website, and through retailers including John Lewis, Zalando, Next and independent stores. It uses organic materials in its children’s clothing as well as recycling plastic bottles into its winter jackets and giving 1% of its annual revenue to good causes.

It was founded by Kurt and Lucy Jewson in 2004. “Frugi is built on strong ethical values, so it was important to find an investor that respects this, but also has the experience to help support our future growth, particularly digitally,” says Lucy. “Paul and the True team,as entrepreneurs themselves, quickly grasped the opportunities and challenges we face as a rapidly growing business. They’re going to protect and enhance Frugi’s innovative and ethical ethos, while helping us reach more likeminded customers around the world.”

Image courtesy of True

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