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A Q&A with Amy Fettis, Founder & CEO of AIM athleisure

With AIM athleisure live on the GrowthFunders platform with their EIS-eligible investment opportunity, we recently spoke with Amy Fettis, Founder & CEO of AIM, to explore further who AIM are, what they do and where they're headed. 

GrowthFunders (GF): What does the company do?

Amy Fettis (AF): We design and make awesome clothes that can be worn for exercise and everyday life and which are trend-led so look great, fit really well following our thorough sampling, and perform when tested because our fabric is 4-way stretch, sweat-wicking and water-repellent.

Our first, seventeen-piece CORE collection has been developed by the AIM team with the input of our clients who operate businesses in the health, fitness and wellness sector and therefore know exactly what makes a great piece of kit! Each garment in the CORE collection has been developed to be fully customisable with branding so it can be used as uniform or merchandise. 

GF: What's your background and what makes you interested in this sector?

AF: Before I started on my AIM journey I was a Chartered Manager and would go in to businesses to achieve a specific objective, which could be anything from adding a new line of revenue or signing up high profile ambassadors through to managing suppliers to achieve a deadline.

I have always liked to stay fit and following the success of the London Olympics in 2012 I observed there was huge momentum gathering behind visibly living a very healthy lifestyle driven by the rise of social media among the ‘selfie’ generation. Suddenly it was no longer acceptable to wear any old thing for the gym - your outfit needed to work just as well outside your favourite brunch spot as it did at the weight rack. The options available at the time from Nike or Lululemon were retailing in excess of £100 and I felt this was just too expensive to enable the regular purchasing required to build this new athleisure trend into your wardrobe.

GF: Who are the senior leadership team of the company and what are their backgrounds?

AF: My skillset lies in identifying opportunities and then building the strategy and action plan around it to make great things happen! My strengths lie in business development, particularly establishing effective relationships with clients, suppliers and retail partners.   

Heather (Swan, Commercial Manager) is my right-hand woman. She has an amazing eye for style and a knack for spotting the emerging trends. She has been with me right from the start and her modelling experience came in incredibly handy when we launched the very first AIM products in to the marketplace!

Read more: AIM athleisure - introducing the team

Nicola (Patton, Product Developer) is the backbone of AIM, having developed the very first prototype and has been involved in every garment since. Her practical knowledge is invaluable, and her industry experience has enabled us to reach this point so quickly while still retaining complete control of our production.

And from the moment I met Katie (Bulmer-Cooke, Trade Ambassador) I knew she would be important to AIM! She just ‘got’ what I was trying to achieve with the CORE collection instantly and has been our champion since. The success achieved with her customised collection is an amazing example of what is possible and we are both excited by the potential in her collection being stocked in Everyone Active gyms.

GF: Why is AIM’s CORE collection a good solution to the problem in the market?

AF: From a consumer point of view, we provide a product that is of excellent quality, is desirable to wear because of our fashion focus, and is affordable so can multiple purchases are possible.

From a client point of view, we offer a cost-effective way to provide uniforms that staff want to wear, their audience want to buy (adding an additional stream of revenue) and which elevates their brand because the AIM team ensure the focus on fashion is maintained at all times.

Working to develop customised collections for our clients also gives our retail consumers confidence, as the garments have been endorsed by these industry experts and fitness business owners through purchasing from AIM for their uniform and merchandise on a repeat basis.

GF: What are the company's key objectives going forward?

AF: We have created a brilliantly solid foundation with our CORE collection, a foundation on which we now want to build. The main objective is to scale. We will do this by growing our range to include fashion garments to complete the full athleisure ‘look’, putting in place a first-class e-commerce platform, initiating a marketing strategy so AIM reaches a much wider audience and all of this will be supported by a new outsourced manufacturing partner with greater capacity. 

GF: What’s AIM’s biggest achievement to date

AF: There are so many! Achieving a 100% conversion rate during our four day pop-up in Fenwick is one. Every piece tried on was purchased and so many customers sought us out afterwards to buy more - I quote "they are the best leggings I’ve ever had".

Read more: an introduction to AIM athleisure and their SEIS and EIS-eligible investment  opportunity

Remaining truly British has to be another. It has been incredibly difficult because the garment manufacturing industry in this country is taking a long time to recover, but I am very proud to say that every AIM garment is designed, sampled and produced here with raw material sourced in the UK too. 

GF: What will the investment capital be used for and why?

AF: The investment capital will enable me to make a key hire into a sales and marketing role which will be crucial to the next phase of growth for AIM. Improving our e-commerce platform is also central to generating retail sales, along with investment into SEO and paid advertising. Furthermore, we will be able to hold the stock necessary to meet the increased sales demand this marketing activity will facilitate and additionally, develop a graduate intern and apprenticeship scheme to provide the infrastructure the business will utilise to scale quickly.   

Investing into AIM athleisure and their EIS-eligible investment opportunity

AIM athleisure are currently live on the GrowthFunders platform raising £0.3 million in exchange for 30% equity. You can download the investment memorandum, view the full investment opportunity and making an investment from as little as £100 here.

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Growth Capital Ventures (GCV) is backed by funds managed by Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s leading private equity and alternative asset managers.