Growthdeck to make EIS investment in Brighton based high fashion glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk

Growthdeck to make EIS investment in high fashion glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk

• Chief Designer’s designs have been worn by Elton John, Julia Roberts and U2

• Global eyewear market worth $117bn in 2017

Private equity investment firm Growthdeck has launched an EIS-qualifying investment opportunity in high fashion boutique glasses and sunglasses brand Kirk & Kirk.

Brighton-based Kirk & Kirk produces a distinctive range of luxury glasses and sunglasses. Chief Designer Karen Kirk’s designs have been worn by Elton John, Julia Roberts, U2 and Oasis, amongst others. The glasses worn by Gary Oldman in the Batman films were also designed by her and Prue Leith wore a number of Kirk & Kirk frames on the recent series of The Great British Bake Off.

Kirk & Kirk’s frames are handmade in France using a specialist high-grade acrylic sourced from Italy, which is lightweight and has a distinct colour palette.

The company is seeking £1.07m in funding. The business has grown organically since it was founded in 2013 and funding will be used to launch an online-only retail collection, design a new collection for 2020, and updating the company’s IT infrastructure.

Kirk & Kirk has increased sales by 43% over the year to £752,800 (year-end July 31st), from £525,400 in 2016/17.

Growthdeck says turnover is projected to reach £1.3m in 2019/20 and £6.8m in 2022/23.

The global eyewear market amounted to $117bn in 2017 and is expected to reach $182.4bn by 2023, reflecting the growing demand for premium products. This is part of a broader trend as consumers increasingly move towards innovative fashion styles as opposed to traditional ones.

Gary Robins, Head of Business Development at Growthdeck, says: “Kirk & Kirk is building up a substantial following and has proved its ability to achieve premium pricing for its products.”

At present, wholesale sales to a network of high-end independent opticians account for 90% of turnover. Online sales account for a small proportion of turnover but volumes are expected to rise following investment in the e-commerce platform.

As with all Growthdeck investments, exit plans are clearly laid out, with a trade sale exit targeted in 2022. The target exit offers investors’ the prospect 9.2 times money when initial EIS income tax relief is taken into account.

Kirk & Kirk was founded by:

• Karen Kirk, Co-Founder and Designer, is an award-winning designer responsible for the design of all ranges. Karen has been designing since co-founding Kirk Originals with Jason in 1992. Prior to this, Karen held design roles at Saatchi & Saatchi

• Jason Kirk, Co-Founder and MD, oversees operations and is responsible for the manufacturing and sales functions of the business. Jason co-founded Kirk Originals with Karen in 1992. Prior to this, Jason was a marketing consultant at L’Oreal UK

Karen and Jason Kirk previously founded Kirk Originals in 1992. They exited in 2013 to found Kirk & Kirk.

Growthdeck is a private investor network offering tax-efficient private equity investments in growth businesses to high net worth and sophisticated investors. Growthdeck was founded by a highly experienced team, including private equity veteran Gary Robins, formerly of 3i, Hotbed and Rockpool, along with James Wrighton, a digital marketing specialist who has developed digital channels for financial institutions including Barclays, Coutts, UBS and Credit Suisse.

Growthdeck has previously completed successful fundraises for growth businesses including boutique gin brand Pinkster, and high-end gym chain One Rebel. Previously Gary has led investments in fast-growth companies such as:

• The Hoxton, the boutique hotel in Shoreditch

• Gymbox, the specialist London gym business

Gary Robins adds: “Turnover is built on sales to an extremely solid network of independent opticians who are increasingly seeking eyewear ranges that stand out to consumers. There is also significant capacity for growth in online sales which management is looking to develop.”

“The exit for this investment could be a trade sale to a competitor or to a private equity house, with any buyer likely to be attracted by the strong brand and global sales profile of Kirk & Kirk.”

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is an investment scheme which allows private investors to make tax savings by investing in growth businesses. The EIS allows investors to:

• Invest up to £1million per annum

• Reclaim 30% of the cost of investment against their income tax bill

• To not pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any gains realised after three years

• Claim further income tax relief should an investment result in any form of loss

• Defer capital gains tax due on the sale of another asset by re-investing the gain in an EIS-qualifying company

• Save inheritance tax on any EIS-qualifying shares held for over two years


About Growthdeck

Growthdeck offers equity investments in new and more established UK businesses to Sophisticated and High Net Worth Investors, with minimum investment of £5,000.

The company offers a comprehensive service to investors, including detailed upfront due diligence on all investee businesses, post-investment monitoring and reporting and a strong focus on achieving an exit for investors. Its focus is on long-term business viability: companies must have strong management, realistic business plans and operate in growth sectors. The majority of its investment opportunities will be eligible for tax breaks under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. Your capital is at risk. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.