Investment boost supports lingerie company’s growth plans

Left to right: Ian Atkinson, Finance Yorkshire with Diane Gordon-Freeman, Alterego Lingerie

Hull-based Alterego Lingerie has invested in new and larger premises as it aims to become a multi-million pound business in the next three years.

Founded by Diane Gordon-Freeman, the company buys and distributes lingerie products to boutiques and e-commerce shops across the UK and worldwide.

A £30,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire – alongside investment from Yorkshire Bank & the Humber LEP Growth Fund – has enabled Alterego to move from leased premises to a new property at the ipark in Hull to support its expansion plans.

The company’s three-year growth strategy includes employing two apprentices and it has already taken on a new manager, taking its number of staff to eight. It also has plans to introduce new product ranges and invest in IT to increase sales in European and global markets.

Diane launched Alterego in 2007 while working full time in the NHS where she spent almost 20 years working in quality management. “I wanted to run my own business and after considerable research I realised there was a demand from Europe for quality lingerie products that I could buy and export.

“I set up an e-commerce buying model and was able to fulfil orders and deliver direct to the retailers. We added new product ranges such as bridal, hosiery and shapewear in response to customer demand. Since then, we’ve piloted and introduced other lines for which there is a strong market alongside mainstream lingerie.

“The move to the 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.”

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 part of the For Entrepreneurs Only (FEO) mentoring scheme in Hull.

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.”

Finance Yorkshire’s investments to date have created and safeguarded 10,196 jobs across Yorkshire and the Humber, increased turnover by £309 million and generated private sector leverage of £179 million.

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, UK Government and match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit or call 0300 030 6060.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire