Starting with a website and a tiny budget, friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey launched women’s fashion brand Rixo in 2015 while studying fashion in London. Eight years later, the brand is growing, with a 70% revenue increase in 2022, plus it’s launching new categories and expanding within the U.S. market. Rixo is best known for its vintage-inspired printed dresses and counts Taylor Swift and the Duchess of Cambridge as fans.
Rixo sells through its own stores, wholesale channels including independent stores and department stores, and its own e-commerce site. During the 2022 fiscal year, it earned $21 million in revenue, compared to $12 million the year prior. In April, the brand launched a flagship store on London’s King’s Road, enlisting McCloskey’s twin sister, Culpa Studio’s Gemma McCloskey, to design it The 5,000-square-foot space includes a standalone bridal suite that’s available for private appointments, as well as alterations services, a coffee kiosk, cocktails and a private events “apartment” space on the second floor.
In January, Rixo introduced product categories including homeware, nightwear and bridal. Rixo is the only brand on the London Fashion Week schedule producing clothes in U.K. sizes through 24. It will launch its first styles available up to size 26 with influencer Abisola Omole in July.
On the Glossy Podcast, co-founder Henrietta Rix discusses the brand’s plans for the U.S., its new category strategy, the need for more inclusive sizing in the contemporary fashion market, the brand effects of Brexit and Rixo’s mission to redefine accessible bridal shopping experiences.
On Rixo’s new flagship store
“It’s been a dream to have a real destination for our shoppers to immerse themselves into the brand. I can go in with my girlfriends, even if someone’s not looking for a dress, and can have a coffee or a few drinks and have a look around the store and just enjoy shopping again. I find shopping really stressful, especially when things don’t fit you or you’re not having great service. You walk away feeling just a bit upset. When you go into the actual store and you see the customers, they’re all coming out of fitting rooms advising each other. Mums and daughters come in, and friends. It’s just great to have that whole community back together.”
Why wide-ranging sizing is still a struggle
“When you first start [making more sizes], it’s really hard to educate the customer. If you’re working with a supplier and you’re only doing 30 units or 50 units of one garment, it’s impossible for them to grade that into over 10 different sizes, because there is more workload and less efficiency that goes into that. It has taken us up to eight years to actually be able to produce garments up to a size 26. The color and the fit teams have spent years perfecting how they do the sizing, too.”
Selling ready-to-wear bridal
“Having an off-the-peg, ready-to-wear bridal option was really missing. When I was shopping for bridal, you’d go to some shops, and they’d have the dress in a size six or an eight. And I’d be like, ‘Well, I can’t fit into that.’ It’s not an inclusive experience, and people come away stressed from it. There was a stage where Orlagh and I saw that lots of our friends were going through that process, as well. We only do two bridal collections a year, and we keep our core continuity styles that the brides love. Our [wedding] party dresses also do really well. The bride’s party dress is now as important [as the main dress], with the second dress being the one that lets people feel themselves. They want to dance and party in it, they want to have a good time.”
The impacts of Brexit
“Brexit has been a massive challenge for us. Our costs have just skyrocketed. It’s been really painful. We’ve had to open a separate facility in Europe just to fulfill our wholesale orders that go to Europe. Before Brexit, we had a U.K. warehouse, and it was fine to fulfill global orders there. But really, the customs duties, or taxes, that you pay now make it so inefficient. When you’re sending one order out to Germany and then a customer returns that, by the time you’ve paid all the duties and the taxes and the customs and it’s come back to you, … it’s just not worth sending that order out financially.”