Business

Hip clothing firm OutsideIn in £600,000 boost to grow exports and double workforce

OutsideIn founder David Johnston with Invest NI's eastern regional manager Susan O’Kane
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A BELFAST clothing designer which has donated nearly 100,000 garments to homeless people in 36 countries is investing another £600,000 and creating 11 jobs in a bid to further grow its exports.

OutsideIn, established in 2016 by David Johnston, designs a range of purpose-inspired clothing under a unique ‘Wear One, Share One' concept where, for every item purchased it provides an additional item to someone experiencing homelessness across the world.

Its charitable initiative has already seen OutsideIn donate around 98,500 products to individuals in need in more than 200 cities in 36 countries.

Invest NI has previously supported the company, helping it to grow from a team of two to 12, and is coming in with £72,000, bringing its total support towards jobs creation, website development, and marketing and consultancy advice to £210,000.

David Johnston said: “When the pandemic prevented us from fulfilling many of our in-person events, Invest NI helped us to shift our focus to the digital landscape and is now supporting us to hire the best candidates to help us do so successfully.

“As a company that recognises that homelessness is a global issue in need of a global solution, we've been so grateful for the crucial role Invest NI has played in helping our products to reach 36 countries and counting, including the US, Canada and across Europe.

“This latest support has further created opportunities for us to work with a variety of global charities who are an integral part of making our ‘Wear One, Share One' concept possible.”

He added: “To continue our growth and further the progress of our mission to become a globally recognised clothing company that gives back to those in need, we now need to double our headcount with 11 new staff, and have recently tripled our office space in Work West to do so.

“Our new employees will focus on securing new international business, expanding our product offering and looking at innovative solutions to end homelessness for good.”

Susan O'Kane, Invest NI's eastern regional manager, said: “We've been pleased to support OutsideIn's growth over the past four years. With its social messaging and innovative concepts, it has built strong avenues to sell products outside Northern Ireland and it hasn't let Covid hinder its growth plans with a new business strategy.

“On top of support to double its headcount, the company has also availed of support from our People Solutions Advisor to gain important advice on its forthcoming recruitment. This will ensure that David and the team have the right structure in place to enable them to focus on growing exports.

“Our team in the US is also supporting OutsideIn to export to the US market. We look forward to seeing the company flourish in international markets and tackle the issue of homelessness on a more global scale.”

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