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Fat Face

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Branded clothing, perfect for an active lifestyle

When we met clothing brand founders Tim Slade and Jules Leaver in 2000, they had a £7m business, but were thinking of selling. We saw two people who were running their business well, but who needed the confidence in their ability to run a much bigger business and put the right people alongside them.  

 

Growing in confidence and tripling store numbers 

  • Our involvement freed up the founders for bigger thinking and enabled this emerging active lifestyle brand to become the market leader.
  • A corporate structure evolved around them and after three years they were able to step back and let a new professional team drive the business. This team included a new chief executive and financial director. 
  • We invested in IT systems to support a multi channel strategy 
  • During the investment, turnover increased almost six fold to £60 million, and the number of stores more than tripled from 30 to 98. The brand went from one of a number of emerging businesses in the active wear sector to clear market leader by 2005.  
  • Mark Advani, partner at Livingbridge, said about the exit, “I don’t mind admitting that I found it quite difficult to let go of Fat Face. It was a successful exit for everybody. A couple of months afterwards I went for lunch and a bottle of wine or two with Tim and Jules. We talked about the journey of the business for most of the afternoon. And then I felt we had done our bit.” 

 

Timeline

1989

Fat Face founded by Tim Slade and Jules Leaver

1993

First shop opens in Fulham

2000

Livingbridge acquires minority stake, allowing the founders to realise about two thirds of their value, with the remainder rolled into a majority stake

2000

New chairman joins

2003

Management team strengthened with chief executive and finance director

2004

Investment in infrastructure including new distribution centre

2005

Fat Face sold in successful secondary transaction. Founders and management realise value and roll into new structure