Sleepwear is going international.
Pandemic-era hit Hill House Home is officially opening its digital doors in the UK this week, with a warehouse in Essex allowing fast shipping across the country.
The move is a homecoming for Hill House founder and CEO Neil Diamond, who grew up in London.
“So a lot of our aesthetic is based on English inspiration, print-forward interiors, florals and so on,” Diamond said. “Then on the other hand, my love of fashion and retail came from growing up there. My first foray into fashion was Topshop in Oxford Circus.
The company Since its debut in 2016, it has been shipped to the UK, although it does not cover customs duties and charges a $50 shipping fee. Diamond said her team sees larger orders coming in to save on shipping costs.
The global spread comes at the height of the epidemic, three years after the bedrock first appeared in the virus. The original Ellie Nap dress, with a ruched bodice and ruffled sleeves, was the perfect outfit for the era: worn to feel special after months in sweatpants, comfortable enough to be a sensible substitute for loungewear. Now, there are several iterations – a smaller version, called Elizabeth; One with sleeves, Louisa; A mini with sleeves called Naiya.
The product lineup has expanded far beyond the various interpretations of the superhero style, and consumers are still buying: The company has seen 300 percent year-over-year growth over the past three years, Diamond said.
It’s an end result unknown to other pandemic-era fashion success stories. 2020 hit Scott Sternberg’s sweat-focused Whole World line is closing in October 2021. As the landscape for DTC brands continues to deteriorate, earlier this month Richter Dhorne was sold to mall brand Francesca.
On May 16, the brand released its Summer 2023 drop, which featured more than 50 pieces, 23 new styles and 18 new dresses. Many sold out within minutes, and the drop eventually generated $5.3 million in sales within a week. Now, fashion accounts for 88 percent of sales for the brand, which began selling home wear like sheets and duvet covers.
Home products remain the foundation of the business, but Hill House Home today is “absolutely a fashion brand,” Diamond says, and their growth priorities reflect that shift.
The brand is also expanding its retail footprint. As of 2022, they have opened stores at Rockefeller Center in New York City, the Royal Poinciana Plaza Mall in Palm Beach, Florida, and Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts. Later this summer, a fourth location will open on King Street in Charleston.
The stores, Diamond said, “give us a lot of opportunity to tell our story in a deeper way. Each store is designed by a local interior designer and sells dresses made exclusively for that store. In the Rockefeller Center area, 70 percent of shoppers are new to the brand.
Still, she says, stores need to justify their prices.
“We should see first-year profitability in the store,” she said. “We don’t see these as market costs.”
Part of that plan is to expand into wholesale, which Diamond is on the horizon for this year. It’s part of the brand’s mission to not only sustain the momentum it built during the pandemic, but to grow and build a sustainable business. The company raised a $20.4 million Series B round in September 2022, valuing it at $150 million.
“What has really changed is the size and number of people. Overall the demographics are pretty similar, just bigger,” Diamond said.