The Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) has invested £40k in a Bristol-based company with established international reach to support it in developing its European market.

Tom & Teddy, a beach-wear range offering matching attire for fathers and sons, was the brain-child of husband and wife team Jelle de Jong and Michelle L’Huillier who were inspired by the beach lifestyle of Australia where they lived from 1999-2008.

At that point they relocated to Singapore, from where they launched the range – first in Australia in 2012, and two years later in the USA.

Since then online sales worldwide have also taken off significantly and, having relocated their family to Bristol in 2016, the pair are now ready to tackle Europe, and to extend their basic range.

Michelle L’Huillier said: “We’re now relatively well established in Australia, the US and Singapore, and online sales have soared.

Tom & Teddy founders Michelle L’Huillier and Jelle de Jong

“Market research has indicated a clear demand for an extension to our product line, so in addition to swim-wear and rash vests we are now manufacturing and selling t-shirts and polo-shirts for big guys and little guys alike.

“We were entirely self-funded at the start, but we need investment for our next step – first for our European launch, secondly for our product extensions and finally for additional recruitment.

“We have raised 2.6 million US dollars since 2014, and this new investment will help finance our next stage of growth – that is launching Tom & Teddy in Europe, developing new product extensions and recruiting additional staff.”

Tom & Teddy currently employs six people in Bristol office and is likely to expand the workforce this year.

Jerry Barnes, one of BPEC’s founding members, said: “We are keen to support Bristol-based firms who are looking to grow their business. Tom & Teddy attracted investment from three of our members.

“We are always looking for investment opportunities: applicants need to show us a sound development plan that will convince us their proposed strategy will indeed take their business to the next level.”

In the last three years BPEC has invested a total of £6m in 19 Bristol-based businesses and has seen its own membership swell from 49 members in 2016 to 80 today.

Issued on behalf of Bristol Private Equity Club by Empica