Bellroy moving out of people’s pockets and into luggage

Bellroy is moving into luggage. Photo: Bellroy.com
Bellroy is moving into luggage. Photo: Bellroy.com

MELBOURNE-based “slim wallet” company Bellroy plans to expand into bags for overnight trips and longer following a successful $US8 million ($A11.4M) capital raising.

“We thought it was time to expand out of people’s pockets,” chief operating officer and co-founder Lina Calabria told AAP on Friday.

The capital round was led by growth equity firm Silas Capital and included both US and Australian investment partners, with Vesparum Capital acting as an independent advisor for Bellroy.

Ms Calabria said the Bellroy wallet’s cult status likely helped the company raise capital.

“I think we’re quite a religion,” she said.

“We’d meet a huge group of investors, and a bunch of people would pull out Bellroys. It really worked in our favour.”

It’s the Melbourne company’s outside investment since it was founded in 2010 by four designer and engineer friends who sat around a kitchen table in Bells Beach, Victoria, to reinvent bulky wallets following the rise of slim tailoring.

The founding team bootstrapped the startup with $US500,000 ($A711,000) and paid it back in four years.

Ms Calabria said the Bellroy had no plans to go public or seek additional capital but the funding would help it become a “global leader in carry,” adding bags for overnight trips and three-week trips to its current portfolio of men’s and women’s wallets, backpacks, pouches, phone cases, key covers and work and travel accessories

The company plans to add eight to 15 staff within the next 12 months to its current roster of 90 employees, who mostly work out of two main offices in Melbourne as well as remotely and at sales offices in Los Angeles and London.

Since launch nine years ago Bellroy has sold two million products globally worth $US150 million ($A213m), through bellroy.com, Amazon.com and other online marketplaces and 1,100 retail stockists in 50 countries, including Barneys, Nordstrom, John Lewis and David Jones.

With Brexit approaching Bellroy will soon be opening a warehouse in the Netherlands to its goods storage facilities in London, Sydney and Canada.

Ms Calabria said that the capital-raising would not change the certified B Corporation’s approach to business.

“We really want to make something that people will love for a long time,” she said.

– AAP