People’s Champion finalist 2018: Fancy Dress Worldwide

Helping customers in over 80 countries dress up for occasions such as Halloween and Oktoberfest, will this start-up take your fancy for People's Champion 2018?

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Start-up name: Fancy Dress Worldwide
Founder: Dom Portman
Started in: 2016
Based in: Worcester
Business description: Specialist in fancy dress costumes and accessories

Shortlisted categories:

Export Business of the Year and Consumer Business of the Year

The Fancy Dress Worldwide story:

Any former student will know that fancy dress is a staple of university life, with fancy dress-related events often used to break the ice and establish new friendships.

It was while studying at Nottingham Trent University that Dom Portman realised there was a business opportunity to be had in selling fancy dress costumes to his peers. So, in his final year, he launched Fancy Fresher; an online platform dedicated to dress-up costumes for university students.

After completing his degree in 2016 and investing in the development of bespoke software solutions, Portman developed Fancy Fresher into Fancy Dress Worldwide.

Today, what was once a part-time business idea has evolved into a full-time global operation with 380,000 orders fulfilled, spanning 85 countries, and revenue set to hit £4.1m next year.

Investors have also taken a fancy for Portman’s business venture.

In August of this year, Fancy Dress Worldwide closed an overfunded crowdfunding round on Seedrs for over £270,000, which included backing from Pure Gym CFO Adam Bellamy, to support expansion with new warehouse equipment, Amazon Prime integration and a US export strategy.

Bellamy has now been appointed as a non-executive director to support the company’s ambitious growth plans, joining Portman and former Citibank senior executive, Kayar Rahavan, on the board.

Having scaled his team to a headcount of 25 with 20,000 products sold on site – you can purchase costumes for everything ranging from Halloween and Oktoberfest to 70’s discos and Tudor parties – Portman is confidently forecasting to reach a valuation of £10m by 2021.

Why Fancy Dress Worldwide made our shortlist:

With an enterprising young entrepreneur at its helm, Fancy Dress Worldwide has rapidly scaled to reach customers in 85 countries in just two years and this exponential growth is admirable. As founder Portman asserts “we are growing from a start-up into a multi-million pound empire.”

Set to grow by an impressive 500% in the next three years, supported by its board of industry names, we’re excited to see how the fancy dress company achieves this goal.

Where to find out more about Fancy Dress Worldwide:


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