Costume and dress-up online retailer Fancy Dress Worldwide has been named as one of 100 companies to receive the accolade for being one of the UK’s best and most exciting new businesses this year.
Now in its 11th year, the Startups 100 list has become an annual milestone in the UK business calendar, highlighting up-and-coming businesses with the potential to change their industries for the better.
Ranking at number 56 in the prestigious list, FDW was the subject of a glowing report, highlighting the breadth of its reach and the rapid growth of the global business.
‘Fancy Dress Worldwide – which won Export Business of the Year at the Startups Awards 2018 – is operating in 85 different countries and stocks over 17,000 products, all managed through a proprietary software system which is honed to streamline processes and manage stock levels.
Founder Dom Portman started out selling dress-up outfits to his friends while studying at Nottingham Trent University. After graduating, he built out his hobby into a fully fledged business and the idea immediately took off, recording turnover of £680,000 in its first year. This early success has been sustained: the company is growing at 100% per year and is projected to hit £4.4m turnover by the end of its fourth financial year in March 2020.
Already valued at £2m, the company launched a crowdfunding campaign last summer in search of £200,000, and ended up raising over £278,000 – all in the space of a month. The money has been used to expand into new warehouse premises, integrate with Amazon Prime and build an export strategy to the US. With the appointment of Citibank executive Kayar Raghavan and Pure Gym cfo Adam Bellamy, Portman has some serious nous to call on as he plots the company’s next chapter.
By 2024, the company is targeting turnover of £16m. It’s an ambitious target, but given how far Portman’s business has come since he was dressing up for those student parties, few would bet against him hitting it’
“It is a fantastic honour to be named in the Startups 100,” said Dominic Portman. “Our continued investment in building in-house technology to enable us to provide outstanding customer service has been key in the business growth in its first three years and the team we have are hungry for success and have been excellent.”
He continued: “We are looking to continue to build on our successful relationships with suppliers into 2020, which is going to be a very exciting year for the business.”
Picture: Startup 100 founder Oli Barrett MBE (left), Dominic Portman (centre) and Julien Callede, founder of Made.com (right).