Retail and Consumer
Who is the woman behind the fast-growing sports clothing brand?
A Gloucestershire independent clothing brand aimed at the women’s fitness market is targeting growth of 300 per cent next year.
The business, which has been running for six years already – but operating from the home of the two founders – is so confident it has made the leap into its first official headquarters.
Sara Da Silva Brazilian Sportswear is run by husband and wife duo Sara Da Silva and Simon Monahan – and has moved into a unit at Gloucester Space Business Centre in Quedgeley.
Since its inception six years ago the pair have grown the business to a six-figure e-commerce operation, with the new premises allowing them to cater for more expansion expected to take them past seven-figures.
Pictured: Sara da Silva, Toni Willoughby and Simon Monahan at their new home in Gloucester Space Business Centre
The brand was formed after Sara, a Brazilian living in Ireland at the time, became frustrated with the fit, quality and availability of sportswear.
She and Simon, an Irish man with a background in fashion and retail, as well as being an engineering graduate, decided to collaborate to create a clothing brand of their own, with one mission - to 'create clothing to support and fit women with real bodies, through the different stages of their lives'.
The Gloucester-based business specialises in clothing for active lifestyles and is known for its high waisted, high compression leggings made in Brazil with Brazilian textiles.
Its leggings are" built primarily for performance and then style", but the firm also now has a "large customer base of postpartum mums who wear our product after giving birth due to the properties of our fabrics and designs, then on the other hand we have Crossfit athletes who swear by our products to very diverse".
Sara said: “Finally moving into a premises of our own is something we have been planning and dreaming of for a long time.
“Over the last six years we have sacrificed so much including our home, which until our recent move to Space Business Centre was littered with boxes and ‘living in our office’ we were in work-mode all the time.
"With the growth of the business and lack of space at home we decided to contact Space Business Centre to weigh up the possibility of renting a unit.
“After viewing one of the available units we knew almost immediately that it was a perfect fit for our business at this stage of our journey.
“We’ve built a strong brand and reputation since forming and our customers have come to expect a certain standard from our products.
“Our challenge now is to stay true to those values and our identity as we grow in scale and bigger opportunities present themselves.
"Our goal next year is to increase our annual revenue by 300 per cent, build our team and inevitably migrate into a larger premises, which we expect to be able to do here at Space Business Centre.”
Simon said: "The growth has come from an increase in demand for our widely known (in leggings circles) 'Black Panther leggings’, especially in Ireland, where approximately 60 per cent of our revenue comes from. Roughly 30 per cent is UK and the rest is scattered around the globe - Australia, US, mainland Europe.
"Next, the broadening and diversification of our range - because for almost two years we only sold a single product the aforementioned Black Panther. We now sell many colours, and fabric types, capris, shorts tops etc, again with fabric which incomparable with our any of our competitors.
"We then settled with a manufacturing partner in Brazil where we spent over two years developing our very own designs, bought in the best fabric we could find and created a premium product which repositioned our brand and remained consistent with our quality, fit and unique designs.
"By achieving higher profit margins and increasing our revenue over a period time, (in this case two to three) years we slowly but surely began to grow again up until the point where we both came back to work full-time on the business. This happened in Sept last year.
"With both of us working full-time and an increase in time on the job we were able to make massive head way, because before that the business was operated around Sara’s and my jobs.
"Also, we improved our website, grew our audience on FB/instagram and began to gain attention on social by working with influencers."
Gloucester Space Business Centre is owned by property investment company AC Lloyd, and is one of two centres in Gloucestershire.
Toni Willoughby, site manager at the Space Business Centres, which offer ‘flexible, easy in and easy out, multi-use units ranging from 275 to 775 sq ft’, said: "We’re excited to be welcoming Sara and Simon to our business community at Gloucester.
"They have done a fantastic job so far to build the business to this point and we hope that by joining us at Space Business Centres we can help them to take that next step and support the business’s further development.”