Bitesize Breakdown: E-Commerce Growth Hacking Takeaways from Passenger Clothing

Lightning 50 podcast with Passenger

Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 E-Commerce Growth Hacking podcast, hosted by Caroline Baldwin, gets under the hood of highly successful e-commerce brands to discover the key technologies they are using to power growth.

We caught up with Passenger Clothing, a UK-based surf and lifestyle apparel brand which prides itself on escapism and sustainability. The outdoors retailer launched in 2012 focused on wholesale, but recently pivoted to increase its direct-to-consumer sales via its Shopify website, while still selling wholesale to leading retailers such as John Lewis. 

We spoke to CEO of Passenger, John Lane, about how the business achieved an incredible 363% growth rate – leading them to place third in the Lightning 50 list of the UK’s fastest-growing brands and topping the Fashion & Apparel sector. John also spoke about the importance of sustainability to Passenger’s brand values.

Here are some of the highlights from the transcript…

  • “Passenger is part of the outdoor industry – which has grown massively in the last few years – amplified by Covid of course. Some European data said the outdoor market for apparel has grown a lot in the last year, and we’ve not seen it slow down. People are still indoors working remotely and they need that outdoor time.” 
  • “In 2019 our revenue was half a million, in 2021 it’s 11 million, so we’ve seen really really strong growth. That’s a result of switching to a direct-to-consumer e-commerce focus, and building that out.”
  • “We always say “Adventure first, product second”. Sustainability along with nature has always been a brand focus. For us it was always a case of wanting to put back more than we took, so we designed and produced everything as sustainably as we possibly could. It’s really hard – there’s a lot of big decisions surrounding what you do and don’t do – but our team even takes the lead on a lot of it, so it’s a bottom up process driven by everyone in the company.” 
  • “We’ve recently pivoted the business again to be 100% direct-to-consumer, then we opened up wholesale again with John Lewis, so had to integrate other services again. That’s where Brightpearl came in for us as it allows us to plug in to different services and grow easily. It enables us to manage our future direction.” 
  • “Our Brightpearl integration was swift, we got it live in 80 days. It helped us manage the wholesalers side but also conduct a big warehouse move very easily. As we look at future growth, whether it’s wholesale clients or opening up around the world – it’s important that we have that essential, central hub where we can manage our orders but also account for them.” 
  • “Tech-wise, we’ve been on Instagram since day dot; social in general has played an important role in our customer acquisition but really we’re all about being operationally efficient. For years we’ve worked with Shopify and a WMS called Peoplevox. When systems are tight and work together, we don’t need to hire too many people and can keep our fixed costs low.”

Want to hear more of what John had to say? Catch up with the full episode, and subscribe to upcoming ones, here as well as all major podcast platforms – including SpotifyAmazon and Google.