Alterego Lingerie was launched in 2007 by Diane Gordon-Freeman who previously spent almost 20 years working in quality management in the NHS. Her research showed there was demand from Europe for quality lingerie products that Diane could buy and export. Since starting the business, Diane has added new product ranges including bridal, hosiery and shapewear.
The company has a three-year growth strategy focussed on introducing new product ranges and investing in its IT to increase sales in European and global markets. It has taken on a new manager and also plans to employ two apprentices, taking its number of staff to eight.
Finance Yorkshire involvement
To achieve its growth ambitions, Alterego Lingerie needed to move to new and larger premises. A £30,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire – alongside investment from Yorkshire Bank and the Humber LEP Growth Fund – enabled the company to move from leased premises to a new property at the ipark in Hull.
The Investment Rationale
Ian Atkinson, Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager, said: “Diane has steadily grown her business to become an established wholesaler in the lingerie sector. The new and larger premises will without doubt support her ambitious plans for growth, which centre on repeat business from existing customers while at the same time building her client portfolio at home and overseas.”
Diane is supported in the business by her son Gareth Laycock who is on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme and leading on the development of the firm’s three-year business plan. Diane is a member of For Entrepreneurs Only (FEO) and took part in its ‘Step Change for Growth’ – a programme for entrepreneurs who want to take their business and workforce to the next level.
Diane said: “The move to new premises is fantastic and is the start of being able to put our plans in place to grow the business while at the same time providing a much better working environment for our staff.”