This month marks one year since our investment into direct-to-consumer pure-play e-commerce brand Lights4fun. To celebrate the anniversary, we’re looking back at the progress they’ve made over the last 12 months.
In November 2020, we invested in Lights4fun to build on their success and help the team to accelerate their growth plan. Our investment was designed to support the expansion of the business’ growing product range, cement its position as the clear UK category leader and enhance the company’s established international presence in the US and Germany.
We were also supporting the team to continue investing in Light4fun’s marketing and data analytics capability with the goal of building long-term sustainable customer relationships – all whilst keeping the company’s great culture, values and people at the heart of the plan.
Within the first 12 months of our partnership, we have supported the management team to make a number of key hires which will help unlock the significant growth potential both in the UK and internationally.
David Stern was appointed as the business’ first Chair, followed by Amman Boughan as CFO, and Ikonya Nginyo who was appointed to lead the US operations. The business has also recruited a Head of CRM and a data team to further enhance its data analytics capabilities, as well as an Operations Director and a Head of HR.
David, originally from New York, previously held a number of global CEO and digital marketing roles, while Ikonya has worked with a number of consumer brands in the US. Their appointments have helped the business to accelerate its international expansion plans, across people, sales and operational effectiveness.
Amman was also a critical hire to support the business to achieve continued strong growth, having previously held several senior financial positions at businesses including Sky Betting & Gaming and Harrogate-based energy company CNG.
In May 2021, Lights4fun launched its dedicated US website, Lights4fun.com, which allows the business to expand its US range from c.150 products to more than 600.
Events throughout the year from the Super Bowl to St Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo and Thanksgiving mean there is a huge market in the States for Lights4fun products. Having a dedicated e-commerce platform in the American market gives the business more control over how it engages with customers and the products it takes to market, to support this further the business has a dedicated team of four based in New York, led by Ikonya, to ensure it can continue to offer customers a high-quality experience wherever they are based.
In addition to delivering strong earnings growth, we’re proud that the business also takes its responsibilities seriously – focusing on its impact on the environment and its communities.
In the last 12 months it has updated its packaging to become more sustainable through a range of initiatives. All boxes have been simplified and reduced in size, where possible, to ensure that the minimum amount of packaging is used, and polyfoam has been replaced with EPE foam, which can be recycled. This is a huge step in the right direction for the business to reduce its impact on the environment. Lights4fun are continuously working towards reducing their packaging wherever they can alongside increasing the number of solar products in the range.
Lights4fun is also a supporter of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, regularly raising money, giving customers the opportunity to make a donation at the checkout and donating products to brighten up the children’s heart ward and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Leeds. This year they have also supported Mind mental health charity, donating money from every purchase of their ‘Be Kind’ neon light, and Friends of the Earth, donating money from every purchase of their Bee Lanterns.
In addition, this year the business supported 24 people in their team to become mental health first aiders recognising the importance of the health and wellbeing of their colleagues.
A year of strong progress
Lights4fun has continued to achieve stellar growth, thanks to the dedication of the team and the success of its exciting product range. The business understands its customers and has a passion for seeking out and designing new quality products to expand its range. The significant investment in people over the last twelve months has helped lay the foundation for the next few years as Lights4fun establishes its US business and continues to invest in its data capabilities to further enhance customer experience and drive lifetime value.
As we near the end of 2021, the business is on track to achieve strong performance once again. Sales are up more than 35% year on year, and demand for the business’ Christmas décor and lighting has also grown substantially with significant further growth expected over the upcoming festive period. We’re thrilled that it’s been a very bright start, but there’s lots more to come. We are looking forward to continuing to support the team to deliver the Value Creation Plan and celebrate even more success over the next 12 months. In the meantime, we’re enjoying having Lights4fun’s reindeers light up the NorthEdge offices over the festive period!