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Sales growth of 62% is in the bag for colourful backpack firm ROKA London as it expands globally 

Sales growth over the last year of 62% is in the bag for colourful backpack firm ROKA London as it expands globally.

Revenue shot up from £3.7 million in 2021 to £6 million in 2022 and it is expected to hit £9 million in 2023.

If targets are met this year, the business will have more than quadrupled in size over the last three years.

ROKA’s stylish, sustainable bags and backpacks have become a fashion item in their own right and it has recently captured the student market.

The bags – instantly recognisable due to their very bright colours – are now sold in more than 1,500 shops in the UK and the brand’s global reach is growing with new retail outlets in France, Spain, Scandinavia, Israel and Australia.

The brand sells as ORI London in the US and it achieved revenue of $1.5 million in its first year in 2022 and this is expected to double in 2023.

ROKA Chief Operating Officer Peter Gough talked about the key technologies the brand is using to drive forward with a five year plan to create a global outdoor lifestyle brand with global sales of £40 million on Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 E-commerce Growth Hacking Podcast.

He said: “Since 2021 we have started a transformation of every part of our business – this has so far had a huge impact on our growth and has accelerated us towards +70% YoY sustainable growth.

“We aim to create a fully integrated system that can scale, with financial and operational efficiencies across both ROKA and ORI brands.

“From the Customer Experience (Shopify Plus/Social) to Customer Services (Gorgias/Aircall) through to our back office (QuickBooks Online) and wholesale sales platforms (B2BWave/BrandWise). 

“We have also introduced Google Workspace to make our team fully collaborative and remote working through their various apps. This is also supported by other revenue-affecting initiatives, including introducing Google Perfomance Max Ads and Shopping, TrustPilot (currently 4.9 out of 5) and Student Discount with Student Beans. 

“Our quest to automate the manual and digitise our processes is ongoing but has already led to better decision-making and buying through real-time reporting and historical data insights.

“The recent implementation of Inventory Planner is helping us use sales data insight for predictive product sales modeling to drive better decision making for stock purchasing and planning.

“The Inventory Planner software really is a game changer as we become a big business. Before purchasing decisions were made on gut instinct and what we felt was going to be right, but now all those decisions are driven by data. 

“We have moved on from the days of big spreadsheets and integrated Inventory Planner with all our other systems.”

ROKA was founded six years ago by Brett Katz and his then girlfriend now wife Emma Rosenberg when he moved to the UK from sunnier climes to live with Emma and all his belongings in an old backpack got soaked during a typical British downpour.

The couple figured there was a gap in the market for well designed bags in bright colours which were water resistant and made sustainably.

Sustainability has been a big part of ROKA’s success and recycled materials are  

used for all its bags and backpacks.The canvas bags are made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) – giving new life to a plastic that would otherwise end up in a landfill, or worse, our oceans.

ROKA’s nylon bags are made using pre-consumer fabric waste such as scraps, rejects, offcuts and trimmings. 

The company was awarded a B-Corp Certification in June – meaning it has met the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

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