In 1999, two ordinary British men had the bright idea of starting a fashion business which copied the trending styles and designs worn by popular celebrities. Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths didn’t know at the time that their small idea would grow into something so huge as ASOS is today. The name ASOS is an acronym for ‘As Seen On Screen’, although many customers of the brand are unaware of this fact. Initially known as ‘AsSeenOnScreen Limited’, the company soon shortened the name to ASOS in less than a year.
By 2001, their website was officially www.asos.co.uk, and the AsSeenOnScreen name had well and truly gone. However, the reason behind the business was never forgotten, and Robertson and Griffiths still worked tirelessly to provide the elegant and stylish fashion items which had been seen on TV.
Around the same time, the business was admitted to the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) on the London Stock Exchange, meaning that shares could now be floated. This enabled ASOS to benefit from shareholders and investors, helping to add more products and clothing lines.
Not long after, ASOS expanded and began to sell products which weren’t necessarily seen on the screen. This prompted the owners and managers to think more seriously about officially changing the registered name to ASOS Limited. In 2003, everybody agreed that ASOS was the name by which customers should recognise the company, and it was formally changed on the legal documents.
Over the years, ASOS began to grow outside of the United Kingdom, offering its products to customers in other countries around the world. By 2013, they were offering products in several departments, including menswear, womenswear, jewellery, accessories and even beauty products. Customers in the USA, France and Germany were able to order all their favourite items from the ASOS website by 2010. The year after, websites were launched for those living in Spain, Italy and Australia, and ASOS chose the Australian city of Sydney to open its first non-UK office. In 2013, they launched online stores for both Russia and China.
Since the company was growing to be such an international favourite in the fashion world, ASOS needed to open offices in the UK outside of London and the South West. Although the headquarters remained in Camden Town, London, a new office was established in Birmingham in 2013.
ASOS chose to further promote itself by sponsoring the McLaren Formula One team during the 2014 Formula One season. While people initially speculated that the sponsorship was only temporary, it lasted the entirety of the season that year.
The main warehouse for ASOS is situated in Barnsley, UK, and was expanded in 2014 to hold 20 million units. The same year, the first warehouse in Europe outside of the UK was opened, located in Berlin, Germany. Mobile shopping apps were also launched for France and Germany.
CoppaFeel, one of the UK’s most popular breast cancer awareness charities, was proud to announce that ASOS had joined the campaign in 2015. Since the charity aims to see every bra sold in the UK include a reminder label for women, ASOS are helping to make this a reality by adding one to each of the bras sold through asos.com.
In 2015, ASOS decided to partner with the British Paralympic Association to help the athletes look their best during the ceremonies in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The company designed formal attire for many of the athletes for the September 2016 events and ceremonies.
Beginning as a small business venture, ASOS has taken the world by storm since launching in 2000. Providing high quality and fashionable clothing while also getting involved in charity work and campaigns – what more could you want from a business?