Flintshire-based ACAI is revolutionizing women’s outerwear as the company is on track to double sales to £ 6million and start exporting to international markets with the help of a loan of £ 500,000 from the Development Bank of Wales.
First launched in 2017 by husband and wife team Joe and Kasia Bromley, ACAI offers a range of durable, stylish and functional outerwear designed by women for women.
ACAI will use the funding as working capital to invest in a new ERP operating system, additional inventory and strengthen the team with the appointment of up to 10 new roles. The first to join us is the former COO of American Golf, Neil Mahon. He joined the group as COO and recruitment is also underway for various positions in finance, marketing, customer service and warehouse.
The ACAI line includes the original skinny outdoor pant that is made from a water resistant, poly-fluoro-carbon-free coating. The coating ensures that no harmful chemicals are released into the environment. Natural fiber merino wool is also used and all products are packed in a mesh laundry bag instead of disposable plastic bags.
With a vibrant women’s outerwear industry, Germany will be the primary export market for ACAI whose supply chain operates in China, Turkey and Portugal. All clothing will continue to be distributed from North Wales pending the acquisition of a second warehouse in the EU.
ACAI Managing Director Joe Bromley said, “Demand has exceeded supply in 2020, so we are preparing for a busy second half of this current fiscal year, as well as expansion to take advantage of some exciting international opportunities from our base here at Sandycroft.
“We have ambitious plans and we are delighted to have the support of the Development Bank; their funding really makes a huge difference as we recruit the right people to further develop the ACAI brand and introduce systems that will transform our productivity as we grow. We also invest in our product line with a constant and constant supply of new products to meet customer demand.
“In addition, we benefit from the introduction by the Development Bank of the Welsh Government’s team of international trade advisers. Their practical help and strategic advice really helps us develop our export strategy and define our route to international markets.
Stewart Williams is Portfolio Manager at the Development Bank of Wales. He said, “ACAI is committed to delivering innovation and style without compromising comfort or performance. Our financing provides much needed working capital to invest in the growth of the business through the purchase of shares and the recruitment of key personnel.
“The UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not stop Joe and Kasia. They have a solid base here in Wales and will now adapt creatively and innovatively to take advantage of international markets. We are excited about their future prospects as a global brand.
ACAI funding comes from the £ 500million Wales Flexible Invest Fund. Backed by the Welsh government, the fund is intended for transactions between £ 25,000 and £ 10million. Loans, mezzanine finance and equity investments are available with flexible conditions of up to 15 years.