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Women invested €250K into ethical female-found knitwear brand from Lithuania

by LLB Finance Reporter
12th Sep 23 6:28 am

The Knotty Ones,” a sustainable clothing brand deeply rooted in the Lithuanian heritage craft of knitting, recently closed an investment round of €250K.

Investment comes from a group of women investors, challenging gender stereotypes about their low participation in the field.

Some of the most notable women investors in this round include Giedrė Dukauskaitė, a famous model and long-time ambassador of “The Knotty Ones,” a new syndicate of female business angels, and Viktorija Trimbel, the Managing Director of Coinvest Capital – an early-stage venture capital fund.

Philanthrophist Erin Gainer-Grigaliūnė together with fashion strategist Ieva Zubavičiūtė, actress Gelminė Glemžaitė, and lawyer Karina Andriukaitiene formed a women angels’ syndicate specifically for this investment, making it more accessible for women who want to start investing with smaller tickets.

“The new investment is breaking the stereotypes by showing that an all-female team can be investors in other female-founded businesses,” said Viktorija Trimbel. “Generally speaking, investing is becoming more popular among women, and female investments are often more successful than men’s – 59% of all businesses founded by women are profitable. Women take a longer-term investment perspective and more thoroughly assess potential risks, which is why many women-owned startups are often thriving.”

Sustainability and social responsibility

One of the key factors contributing to the success of “The Knotty Ones” is its loyalty to values based in sustainability and social responsibility.

The “The Knotty Ones” production is mostly done locally, as it is based on Baltic knitting traditions, even though 90% of the garments are sold to foreign markets, such as the USA, UK, Australia, Germany and other Western countries.

Co-founded by three female friends, Akvilė Meškauskaite-Dobrajs, Sandra Pangonytė, the startup provides job opportunities to talented, independently employed female artisans in rural Lithuania. The artisans work at their convenience, have spare time for their hobbies, and can combine work with motherhood, while financially supporting their families in less privileged regions of the country.

“The Knotty Ones” only works with ethical suppliers like local family-run wool farms from around the globe, which source natural and high-quality yarns, and all the production is animal cruelty-free.

Inspiring partnerships and formula for success

According to Meškauskaitė-Dobrajs, one of the founders, it is essential to not lose focus and the mission of the business in order to grow, especially in the fashion industry. “There isn’t a formula for success, however, I’d suggest never forgetting your main purpose,” she said. “Plans are always changing, but you have to know why you are doing it. In fashion, like in any other business, you have to put a lot of effort into knowing your customer, attracting investors and determining exactly how and where you want to grow. Most importantly, you have to be oriented towards your target audience and know where to find it.”

“The Knotty Ones” has been successfully growing its international distribution with global partners such as US lifestyle retail giant Anthropologie and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. The brand has also been selling with famous American retailers such Revolve and Free People. “The Knotty Ones” products are notably worn by international celebrities and influencers like Hilary Duff, Margaret Qualley, and the wife of Richard Gere, Alejandra Gere.

Since its first investment round in 2020, the knitwear brand grew five-fold while remaining committed to its core values of sustainability, honoring Baltic knitwear traditions, and empowering women through job opportunities in rural areas of Lithuania.

Further expansion is planned

“The Knotty Ones” plans to use the €250K investment to expand into international markets, particularly into the United States, foremost focusing on responding to the needs of their foreign customers via wholesale and ecommerce.

“We are happy to have attracted Lithuanian investors in this round and are planning an international fundraise going forward,” says Sandra Pangonytė, co-founder of the business. “Financial and strategic support we received from the female investors we engaged with is a confirmation we’re growing in the right direction – expanding our impact beyond the business. We are happy to have brought together a strong community of women — from knitters to opinion leaders, from the founders of the company to the ever-growing team and loyal customers. We now hope to drive all of us towards success.”

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