A Hampden Park business has been branded the ‘UK’s number one formal wear online retailer’.
Dobell, which was helped to grow by Locate East Sussex, now sells formal menswear to over 10 countries, employing over 50 people.
This year, the retailer is expecting to see an increase in sales of their party wear, which includes festive designs printed on waistcoats, suits, bow ties and shirts.
Dobell’s was set up in the basement of a hotel in Eastbourne seafront 10 years ago and has grown into a multi-million pound business.
Co-owner founder, Mike Dobell, who had the idea for the business while traveling around Asia as a student, recognised the need for quality formal menswear at a reasonable price while shopping for a tuxedo for University during his travels around Asia. He set up the business in his father’s hotel basement in Eastbourne, aiming his product at the audience he knew best, male students.
In January 2016, due to a rise in demand for their products, Mike and his business partner, Tim Grimaldi, decided they needed to expand into a bigger unit within Eastbourne, a town which had served them well in the first 10 years of the business.
“We found a bigger unit in Brampton Business Park in Hampden Park which was everything we needed,” said Mike. “Some of the many benefits included being close to the train station, big yard space and reasonable rent compared to nearby Brighton and London.”
Although the space fitted with their requirements, the building did need renovations. Dobell’s sought help from business support service Locate East Sussex and was loaned £100k. This came from the East Sussex Invest growth scheme, funded by East Sussex County Council and administered by business support service, Locate East Sussex.
Mike said, “The money provided through Locate East Sussex was vital for our growth. It helped us upgrade our warehouse management software, kit out a photo studio and put in workbenches, amongst many other vital pieces of equipment.
“Eastbourne has been a great platform to develop the business. It is a perfect place for work life balance and suits modern day working needs. We are close to London and the M25 for when we do need to travel around the country and the world, but we don’t have to commute every day, and neither do our staff, meaning morale is higher and productivity of our staff is better. We are always looking to recruit talented and dedicated members of staff to join our hard-working team.”
Adam Berger, Location Service Manager at Locate East Sussex, said, “Dobell’s is a great example of an entrepreneur who started relatively small and has become an incredibly successful international business. We are pleased to have assisted Mike and Tim both in their expansion within East Sussex, but also an international e-commerce retailer.”