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Hill House Home Lands in the UK

Expanding overseas is one of several ways the New York-based brand is looking to keep up momentum, three years after its ‘nap dress’ went viral.
Hill House Home opened a warehouse in the UK this week, allowing it to fulfill orders in the country at a lower cost to customers.
Hill House Home opened a warehouse in the UK this week, allowing it to fulfill orders in the country at a lower cost to customers. (Courtesy Hill House Home)

The nap dress is going international.

Hill House Home, the brand that spawned the pandemic-era favourite, officially opens its digital doors in the United Kingdom this week, with a warehouse in Essex that will allow for speedier, less expensive shipping to the country.

The entry is something of a homecoming for Hill House’s founder and chief executive officer, Nell Diamond, who was raised in London.

“So much of our aesthetic is rooted in English-inspired, print-forward interiors, florals and all that,” said Diamond. “And then on the other side, my love of fashion and retail came from growing up there; my very first exploration into fashion was the Topshop in Oxford Circus.”

The company has shipped to the UK since it first launched back in 2016, though it didn’t cover customs duties and charged $50 in shipping. Diamond said that her team would see large orders coming in, presumably for multiple people, in order to save on shipping costs.

International expansion comes three years on from when the nap dress first went viral at the height of the pandemic. The original Ellie Nap Dress, features a smocked bodice and ruffled sleeves, and was the perfect garment for the era: Dressy enough to feel special after months spent in sweatpants, comfortable enough to be a reasonable substitute for loungewear. Now, there are several iterations — a mini version, called the Elizabeth; one with sleeves, the Louisa; a mini with sleeves named Naia.

Its product lineup has expanded far beyond the different interpretations of its hero style, and consumers are still shopping: The company has seen 300 percent year-over-year growth for the past three years, Diamond said.

It’s an end result that proved elusive for other pandemic-era fashion success stories. Scott Sternberg’s Entireworld line, a 2020 favourite focussed on sweats, shut down in October 2021; amid a worsening landscape for DTC brands, basics label Richer Poorer sold to mall brand Francesca’s earlier this month.

On May 16, the brand released its 2023 summer drop, which featured over 50 pieces, 23 new styles and 18 new dresses. Several sold out within minutes, and the drop ultimately generated $5.3 million in sales within a week. Now, fashion makes up 88 percent of sales for the brand, which began selling home linens like sheets and duvet covers.

Home products remain a foundation piece of the business, but Hill House Home today is “firmly a fashion brand,” Diamond said, and their growth priorities reflect that shift.

The brand has also been expanding its retail footprint. Since 2022, they’ve opened shops in Rockefeller Center in New York City, the Royal Poinciana Plaza shopping centre in Palm Beach, Florida and on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts. Late this summer, a fourth location will open on King Street in Charleston.

The stores, Diamond said, “offer us so much opportunity to tell our story in such a deeper way.” Each store is designed by a local interior designer and sells dresses in prints exclusive to that shop. At the Rockefeller Center location, 70 percent of shoppers are new to the brand.

Still, she says stores need to prove their worth.

“We need to see first-year profitability in-store,” she said. “We’re not looking at these like a marketing expense.”

Part of that plan is expansion into wholesale, which Diamond said is on the horizon this year. It’s all a part of the brand’s mission not only to sustain the momentum it built during the pandemic, but to keep growing and build a lasting business. The company raised a $20.4 million Series B round in September 2022, valuing it at $150 million.

“What’s really changed is the scale and the sheer number of people. The demographics in general have stayed pretty similar, just bigger,” said Diamond.

Further Reading

Last week, Hill House Home sold $1 million worth of its sell-out nap dresses in just half an hour. Now, the product is set to drive 50 percent of the lifestyle brand’s business by the end of the year. What's the secret to its success?


About the author
Diana Pearl
Diana Pearl

Diana Pearl is News and Features Editor at The Business of Fashion. She is based in New York and drives BoF’s marketing and media coverage.

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