It’s official! The UK’s fastest-growing businesses have been revealed in Brightpearl’s inaugural Lightning 50 league table.
But what’s so special about the brands that made the cut? What are the secrets behind their rapid growth during one of the most challenging years for commerce? And how can you follow in their footsteps?
Let’s meet the top 10 finalists to find out…
1. Au Vodka
Overall winner | Regional Winner – Wales | Winner – Luxury Sector | Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 10,170%
Au Vodka was founded in 2016 by Jackson Quinn and Charlie Morgan – two school friends from Swansea, South Wales, who saw their pals receiving ‘boring’ bottles of vodkas for their 18th birthdays – and wanted to do something bolder and better.
They created Au Vodka – an ‘ultra premium’ vodka that comes in a signature gold bottle with the liquid inside colored to match a growing range of flavours.
Backed by DJ and TV presenter Charlie Sloth, with endorsements from A-list celebs including Floyd Mayweather and Stormzy, Au Vodka’s success has exploded over the last couple of years. It’s revenue increased by a whopping 10,000% in 2020 – easily securing the business the Lightning 50 top spot.
As well as being crowned Overall Winner, the brand also won regional and sector titles.
Au Vodka’s Head of e-Commerce, Jordan Major, credits the brand’s young (almost everyone on the team is under 30), dedicated team as the driving force behind such rapid growth.
“Almost all our staff are under 30. I think our collective youth has definitely helped us tap into what our target demographic wants – and to then have the energy and vision to make it happen,” said Jordan.
“My advice to any business that wants to follow in our footsteps is to go for it – and just keep pushing. And I’d absolutely recommend entering next year’s Lightning 50 – I’m certainly glad we did!”
1st Place Sector Winner – Sports, Leisure & Hobbies | Regional Winner – South East | Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 2,960%
Powerhoop has taken the lightweight, toy hula hoops we all remember from childhood and turned them into a fitness phenomenon. The brand offers a leading range of weighted hula hoops, alongside fitness classes all over the world, online courses, on-demand workouts and instructor training.
The business secured itself second place on the Lightning 50 after achieving 2,690% growth. It has also been named a sector and regional winner.
“We are so happy to be included on the Lightening 50’s list”, said Matthew Jennings
eCommerce & Digital Marketing Manager at Powerhoop. “To be awarded second place too makes it that little bit sweeter!”
3. Jericho Coffee Traders
Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 683%
Jericho Coffee Traders is an Oxford-based espresso bar and roastery that also ships its beans to coffee-lovers across the UK through an innovative coffee subscription service.
When coffee shops closed during the Coronavirus pandemic, caffeine-addicts looked for new ways to get their fix – and Jericho Coffee Traders was there to plug the gap. Now, even after coffee shops have reopened, the trend of enjoying freshly-brewed coffee at home is continuing – at least for JCT who nabbed third place on the Lightning 50 after reporting a 683% increase in revenue.
A range of tech, including Shopify, Facebook ads and Google marketing, is behind the brand’s rapid growth over the last year. As well as making the Lightning 50 Top 10, it has also been named a regional winner.
4. Candy Kittens
Regional Winner – London | Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 608%
Candy Kittens is a British Gourmet sweets brand.
Co-founded in 2012 by Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, Candy Kittens makes sweets for grown-ups – with big flavour, honest ingredients and beautiful packaging.
With a Shopify-powered website and a winning Facebook ads strategy, the business came in at number four on the Lightning 50 after experiencing impressive 608% growth. The brand has also been named the regional winner in London.
“A relentless effort in driving customer satisfaction, not only in direct customers service but in the entire business operations and how we do things in-house and with our partners, has been key to our growth,” said the brand’s DTC lead, Moynul Islam
5. The Sardar Co
1st Place Sector Winner – Health & Beauty | Regional Winner – West Midlands | Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 503%
The Sardar Co is a men’s beauty brand with a difference. Providing a range of hair and beard care products alongside turbans and other lifestyle products, the brand aims to help its customers show the world the truest possible version of themselves.
Founded by Manny and Manjit, the children of first and second-generation immigrants, The Sardar Co has rapidly grown and secured fifth place in the Lightning 50 with a 503% leap in revenue in 2020. It’s also been recognised with sector and regional winner titles.
Speaking about the reasons behind the brand’s success, company director Manny Talwar, said: “Here at the Sardar Co our aim is to always achieve higher and to be a continuously improving brand. As a team it was a phenomenal achievement for us to have won not only one but two titles.”
“Our team was ecstatic over this achievement, as we celebrated with a nice meal together – above the loud laughter and chatter we could all agree this was truly an eye opener on how far our business has grown in such a rapid amount of time,” added Manj Sohal, Director of The Sardar Co.
“The Lighting 50 has given us a further push towards attaining our goals whilst also allowing us to reflect back on achievements. We know that this only just the beginning for The Sardar Co.”
1st Place Sector Winner – Homewares | Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 500%
Olivia’s provides homeowners with on-trend, fashion-forward furniture and lighting.
Its award winning interior designers hand pick each item in its Instagram-worthy range, working closely with various artisans, designers and brands to ensure the quality of each piece.
While the world spent more time at home than ever before in 2020, Olivia’s scaled rapidly. With 500% revenue growth, the brand takes its rightful place at number 6 on the Lightning 50 league table. It has also been crowned both a sector and regional winner.
Sarah Aitken, Head of Brand and Marketing at Olivia’s, said: “Our audience prioritises their home – their safe place. High demand driven due to COVID-19 restrictions and cultural changes fueled our recent growth. Alongside this, Olivia’s has developed core proprietary technology and focused heavily on finding the best people to help drive the business forward.”
1st Place Sector Winner – Electronics and Components | Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 495%
Maplin strives to empower, inspire and provide solutions with tech. The team believes in a world where connecting people with brilliant technology enriches lives. From voice-controlled light bulbs, to Esports and Raspberry Pi, Maplin has its customers’ tech needs covered.
In 2018, Maplin went into administration – and all Maplin bricks-and-mortar stores ceased trading. The brand of Maplin was acquired by Digital First Retail Ltd – but still trades as Maplin. Rebuilding the brand from scratch has paid off – with 495% growth reporting, securing a 7th place spot on the Lightning 50 and a sector winner title.
8. IndeJuice Limited
Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 488%
IndeJuice was founded in 2017 to help connect vapers to undiscovered juice makers, and quickly became the UK’s leading eJuice marketplace in an up and coming industry.
IndePlus, the brand’s vape delivery subscription service, is currently the most popular vape subscription service in the UK allowing vapers to enjoy next day delivery with no minimum order requirements.
IndeJuice comes in at number 8 on the Lightning 50 after achieving 488% growth.
“While the impact of lockdown has been clear on driving more people to shop online, a key element that helped our growth is people being more conscious about their general health and wellbeing,” said Jag Gill from IndeJuice.
“With the NHS continuing to make clear that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking , added to the fact vaping is significantly cheaper than smoking, we have seen a significant shift to more first time vapers via our eCommerce site.”
9. Tradeprices Bathrooms
Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 423%
Founded in 2012, Tradeprices Bathrooms has quickly established itself as one of the fastest growing retailers of branded bathrooms and accessories. Following award wins in both Welsh and UK bathroom awards, the Cardiff, UK-based business prides itself on exceptional quality products and service.
The firm’s rapid growth has culminated in a 423% revenue jump in 2020, securing it ninth place in the Lightning 50.
Gavin Smith, Managing Director at Tradeprices Bathrooms, says the company’s growth has been driven by access to a network of British companies that support Tradeprices with supply, marketing, finance, and delivery.
He said: “We feel optimistic about the future and believe the business will continue
to thrive. With ambitions to continue steadily growing, Tradeprices will evolve and adapt whenever required. We’ve already taken on a second warehouse to handle the volume of orders we’re experiencing in 2021.”
Sector Winner – Fashion | Regional Winner – East Anglia | Top 10 Finalist
Revenue growth: 372%
Cyberjammies is an online nightwear brand, selling a range of luxury pyjamas and loungewear for women, men and kids.
The omnichannel business – which primarily reaches customers directly via its successful webstore but also via leading retailers including John Lewis, Next and Very, had a bumper year in 2020 – with 372% growth, earning it the number 10 spot in the Lightning 50.
Cyberjammies, which was also named a sector and regional winner, happens to be a Brightpearl customer, and partly credits our robust, flexible Retail Operating System with its recent success.
Mark Tweed, Brand Director at Cyberjammies, said: “A combination of factors has fueled our growth. Firstly, nightwear and loungewear was a leading trend during lockdown. Secondly, Brightpearl and its integrations to our website and warehouse system has enabled us to grow seamlessly and rapidly, while maintaining control and service levels.”