The U.S. natural indigo supplier behind Cone Denim’s popular Natural Indigo Collection now has the seeds to accelerate growth.
Female-owned Stony Creek Colors, Inc. announced Monday the first closing of its Series B financing round, expected to total over $9 million. With this financing, Stony Creek Colors has secured the capital needed to scale operations, allowing a geographic expansion of its proprietary indigo-producing crops and processing capabilities to bring its dye to more denim mills.
Founded in 2012 by Sarah Bellos, the Springfield, Tenn.-based company has developed and validated technology that enables it to profitably supply the market with in-demand indigo plant-based color, enabling a transition from synthetic, petroleum-based processes that rely on toxic chemicals. The BioPreferred-certified plant-based indigo is free of the hazardous chemicals currently under scrutiny by leading denim brands.
In 2019, Stony Creek Color was named one of six finalists for Tommy Hilfiger’s Fashion Frontier Challenge, a global program the fashion empire started in 2018 to support entrepreneurs developing positive solutions for the fashion industry.
“Today, the synthetic indigo used in denim relies on petroleum-based processes that leave behind toxic residue on jeans. Stony Creek Color’s plant-made indigo is free of these toxins, providing a healthier and more sustainable solution for coloring denim,” said Sarah Bellos, Stony Creek Colors CEO. “In addition, our indigo-producing crops create a high value rotation opportunity for farmers, sequester carbon in the soil, and reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizers.”
Food- and agriculture-focused investment firm Lewis and Clark AgriFood led the round. Other participants included Innova Ag Innovation Fund and iSelect, as well as funds that had participated in earlier rounds of financing, including Green Spark Capital and Next Wave Impact. Tim Hassler, Lewis and Clark AgriFood managing director, has joined Stony Creek Color’s board of directors.
Stony Creek Colors is described as “the fastest growing natural indigo manufacturer globally.” Enabling the company’s expansion with investors that hold deep agriculture and operating expertise and a focus on sustainable growth in emerging sectors, however, is a strategic move to meet the growing awareness the effect that dyes hcan ave on people and the planet.
“Customer demands for cleaner color and the removal of toxic chemicals from their products will not wane,” Bellos said. “Our proven plant-based indigo solutions offer an exciting opportunity for brands to exceed customer expectations. This investment will leverage our new technology, from seed to extraction, to help bring Stony Creek Colors through a phase of rapid growth.”