L-R: Jules B founder Julian Blades, Karl Hodson of BTG Advisory and Mike Guellard of NEL Fund Managers.
Jane Imrie

North East fashion brand lands six-figure investment to step out in style online

A North East fashion brand is set to expand its online offering through a new six-figure investment.

Jules B has secured investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund

Founded by Julian and Rhona Blades in 1984, Jules B offers collections by more than 180 high-end designers, including Hugo Boss, Armani, Victoria Beckham, Barbour and Vivienne Westwood.

The investment will be used to enhance the business’s online infrastructure and digital marketing activities, as well as to support process efficiencies and expand product lines.

Five new jobs are expected to be created as a result of the investment, which would take the business’s overall team to over 60 staff.

Julian Blades commented: “We’ve come through the pandemic pretty well overall, and with online sales already making up the great majority of our revenues, we’ve been able to keep the business ticking along through the times when our stores have had to be closed.

“Further improving our digital infrastructure and marketing activities will help us ahead of the competition, while with around 20 per cent of our online sales currently coming from international markets, there’s a lot more potential to realise overseas as well.

“The NEL team saw the potential that the business has for building on what we’ve achieved over almost four decades, took a thorough and professional approach, and lived up to the promises they made through the application process.”

Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Julian and Rhona have achieved so much through their careers, but their ambition to keep the business moving forward remains as strong as ever and they have a clear strategy for how they’re going to achieve this.

“Whether a business is near the beginning of its growth journey or as well established as the likes of Jules B, the investment capital we can provide can have a huge impact in terms of helping firms realise more of their potential more quickly.”

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