The fashion group injects 12 million into the Norwegian e-commerce company Villoid, which has seen sales pick up speed as a result of the corona crisis.
– The first time we met Varner was back in 2013, but then we did not talk about investments, but about a digital collaboration, says Villoid CEO and co-founder Jeanette Dyhre Kvisvik to E24.
But a lot has happened since then, and Norway’s largest fashion group behind chains such as Dressmann, BikBok and Cubus, now buys 13 percent of the shares in the company, and prices Villoid at NOK 90 million.
– We think Villoid is an exciting company that has a very large potential. We have invested in some fantastic entrepreneurs and people that we have great faith in and that we applaud, says Varner owner Marius Varner in a message.
The online store that sells clothes to “fashion-conscious women” online has known how Norwegians have flocked to the online store during the pandemic. Last year, the company had a turnover of just over NOK 17 million. This year, she estimates they will reach 50 million.
– The corona crisis has brought more of the physical trade over online, and we notice that well, says Dyhre Kvisvik.
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– We still see that foreign e-commerce accounts for the majority of sales in Norway, and this is where we want to steal market share, says Dyhre Kvisvik.
Villoid points to players such as Swedish Boozt and Nelly, as well as the giant Zalando, as their main competitors.
At the same time, the company has never made a profit, and last year the loss ended at NOK 5.1 million.
– When you approach 50 million in turnover, does that mean you make money?
– We have had several profitable months this summer and autumn, so we are starting to get closer to something. But it is always challenging to find the perfect balance between profitability and strong enough growth, says Dyhre Kvisvik who has a past as both McKinsey consultant and program manager at TV2.
Dyhre Kvisvik doubts that there will be black numbers on the bottom line already in 2020.
The money flowed out of the clothing empire Varner last year
The online store that was started back in 2014 has had both Schibsted and Telenor on the owner side, but was bought out by Kvisvik, Jarle Snertingdalen and the model Alexa Chung in 2015.
Dyhre Kvisvik says the company is “concerned with growing to the maximum in the next few years”, and that financial muscles are then needed.
– And we get that from Varner.
– For us, this is a “match made in heaven”. We were out early with online shopping, and Varner has built up one of Northern Europe’s largest fashion groups, so this is a good combination, she says.
This is not the first investment Varner has made in fashion entrepreneurs in recent years. Among other things, money has been put into the concept store Yme, as well as the Swedish e-commerce company Junkyard, which in Norway alone sold “street fashion” for around NOK 100 million last year, and the make-up company Makeup Mecca.
Halved result for Cubus – Dressmann against the current
Villoid raised money in April last year, but then through public funding. The company then gained 100 new investors, most of whom were women.
– You have many investors due to their public financing completed. How has it been to deal with so many owners?
– We were excited about what it would be like to handle 100 investors in addition to operations, but it has gone very well, and we have also received help from many of them. We have, among other things, a marketing expert, a brand lawyer and a fashion expert who have assisted us a lot, says Dyhre Kvisvik.
Villoid has had three issues since the start-up of the online store, and this is the latest. Entrepreneurs and employees still hold just over 70 percent of the shares in the company.
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