Borders outdoor clothing firm Findra steps up digital sales

Borders-based premium outdoor clothing specialist Findra has seen its online growth step up a gear after adjusting its business model in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Innerleithen-based business is behind a range of eco-friendly garments for women and men, and it saw online sales boosted in lockdown as consumers took more to the outdoors and sought out comfortable leisurewear. Digital revenues in fact grew by more than 250 per cent in 2020.

“Things just went from strength to strength,” according to founder and chief executive Alex Feechan, who said the firm’s expansion made her realise the strong community the business had built up since launching in 2014. "It's been a really hectic year, but a really positive one.”

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As a result of the firm’s growth she has unveiled the move of the fulfilment, stock, and admin parts of the business plus the design studio from the current Innerleithen shop and studio space to a new site in Walkerburn, on the first floor of an old textile mill, with the existing Findra space becoming a bigger shop.

The firm has a bricks-and-mortar presence in Innerleithen. Picture: Phil Wilkinson.

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The firm is also planning to launch more products, using sustainable denim, for example, and it has been awarded a Business Gateway Digital Boost Grant and investment from Edinburgh-based female-led angel investment syndicate Investing Women.

Furthermore, Findra has already beat its sales forecasts for the first quarter of this year, and as for its geographic focus, the aim this year is to concentrate on the UK and Ireland, but with plans longer term to increase exports to 10 per cent to 15 per cent of its turnover. “There’s definitely huge potential there,” Ms Feechan added – highlighting North America in particular.

She launched the business after seeing a gap in the market for outdoor clothing that was high performance, comfortable and stylish, and following her career working on knitwear for fashion houses such as Chanel, Calvin Klein and Escada.

Boss Alex Feechan says the firm has benefited from people looking online for outdoor clothing during lockdown. Picture: Phil Wilkinson.

Findra will next month see its workforce grow to seven, and as for where she would like it to be in three years, she would like it to be an established online retailer of “stylish, sustainable, versatile” outdoor clothing. “And that by that point, we have started to make headway into the export strategy and be selling more on an international stage.”

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