Flintshire based ACAI is revolutionising outdoor wear for women as the company is on track to double turnover to £6 million and begin exporting to international markets with the help of a £500,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales.
First launched in 2017 by husband and wife team Joe and Kasia Bromley, ACAI offers a range of sustainable, stylish and functional outdoor wear designed by women for women.
ACAI will use the funding as working capital to invest in a new ERP operating system, additional stock and strengthen the team with the appointment of up to 10 new roles. First to come on-board is former Head of Operations at American Golf, Neil Mahon. He has joined as Chief Operating Officer and recruitment is also underway for various finance, marketing, customer service and warehouse roles.
The ACAI range includes the original skinny outdoor trousers which are made from water resistant coating that is Poly-Fluoro-Carbon free. The coating ensures no harmful chemicals are released in to the environment. Natural fibre merino wool is also used and all products are packaged in a mesh laundry bag instead of disposable plastic bags.
With a buoyant female outdoor wear industry, Germany will be the first export market for ACAI whose supply chain operates across China, Turkey and Portugal. All clothing will continue to be distributed from North Wales pending the acquisition of a second warehouse in the EU.
Chief Executive of ACAI Joe Bromley said: “Demand outstripped supply in 2020 so we are preparing for a busy second-half of this current financial year plus scaling-up to take advantage of some exciting international opportunities from our base here in Sandycroft.
“We’ve got ambitious plans and we’re delighted to have the support of the Development Bank; their funding really is making a massive difference as we bring in the right people to further grow the ACAI brand and introduce systems that will transform our productivity as we grow. We’re also investing in our product range with a constant and consistent supply of new products to meet customer demand.
“Furthermore, we’re benefitting from the Development Bank’s introduction to the team of international trade advisors at the Welsh Government. Their practical help and strategic advice is really helping us to develop our export strategy and define our route in to international markets.”
Stewart Williams is a portfolio executive with the Development Bank of Wales. He said: “ACAI pledges to offer innovation and style without compromising on comfort or performance. Our funding is providing much needed working capital to invest in the growth of the business with the purchase of stock and recruitment of key staff.
“The UK’s withdrawal from the EU isn’t stopping Joe and Kasia. They’ve got a solid base here in Wales and will now adapt with creativity and innovation to benefit from international markets. We’re excited about their future prospects as a global brand.”
The funding for ACAI came from the £500 million Wales Flexible Invest Fund. Supported by the Welsh Government, the fund is for deals between £25,000 and £10 million. Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available with flexible terms of up to 15-years.