Congrats on your $7M round
[Originally posted Jan 11, 2022]
When we first met Ciara, Russell and Christine, we were floored by not just their passion and drive to build a large fashion brand, but their operational capabilities. As a two year old company, they were already doing eight-figures in revenue and had launched two brands–Russell’s Good Man Brand (GMB) and Human Nation (HN)–with a third that launched at the end of 2021, LITA by Ciara.
We invested in their vision in 2021 and we are thrilled to be onboard as investors in The House of LR&C as they announce a new $7M round this week and continue to build a fashion house inspired by values of spreading love, inclusivity, and sustainability.
One thing that struck us instantly is the team’s deep expertise in the field. CEO Christine Day is the former CEO of Lululemon and one of the sharpest, most astute operators I’ve met. And Ciara and Russell need no introduction. As two of the top performers in their respective fields, they spent decades driving pop culture and building a loving relationship that we all aspire to. Their values of love and support flow effortlessly into the brand and their attention to detail to ensure this is felt is second to none.
In addition to their super strong operator skills and vision, we were excited by a couple of other elements–The House of LR&C is creating a new concept of community-driven apparel through their partnership with Flowcodes. Each piece of clothing has an embedded QR code that shares the story of that piece of clothing and builds a digital experience on top of the shopping and wearing experience. This community-driven apparel strategy creates an offline and online way for the brand to interact with their community of fashionistas and others curious about their clothing. How many times have you said “where did you get that?” to a friend and had them pull out a QR code and give you the exact details? The House of LR&C has seen large adoption of this with over 20% of new inbound customers learning about the brand from QR codes.
We are also big fans of hero products with demonstrable productivity. As investors in Rothy’s, Bonobos, and Honeylove, we know a unique product when we see one. The House of LR&C has several hero products with the Human Nation brand, including a water-repellent hoodie that is sustainability sourced and GMB’s Tulum pants. Maybe most impressive, The House of LR&C was able to build to the top 1% of Shopify brands in 8 months.
The House also plans to open a pop-up store near its Seattle headquarters in early February and plans to open three or four permanent U.S. stores this year.
At Lightspeed we have a history of investing in influencer-led brands but the following of the founders wasn’t the only thing that attracted us to this business. I was personally inspired by the depth of involvement Ciara and Russell showed, their commitment to give back to the community with a percentage of sales, their determination to trailblaze as one of the few black owners of a fashion brand, their innovative customer acquisition strategy, and their commitment to sustainability in a world that so often ignores this topic.
I also loved connecting with Russell and learning our grandfathers both worked at HBCUs and learning just how compassionate Ciara is as a person. I’m proud to have founders with such value alignment in our portfolio.
We are thrilled to be part of their journey and can’t wait to share more along the way.