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Branded clothing 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.”
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Fat Face timeline

1989 Fat Face founded by Tim Slade and Jules Leaver
1993 First shop opens in Fulham
2000 Livingbridge invests
2000 New chairman joins
2003 Management team strengthened with chief executive and finance director
2004 Investment in infrastructure including new distribution centre
2005 Livingbridge realises investment