Founded n 1989 Oliver Sweeney has become a British menswear success story, manufacturing and selling shoes, clothing and accessories that have a twist on traditional craftsmanship and cultivating an obsessive customer base of stylish men searching for something different.
The business was bought by its current owners Maurice Helfgott and Amery Capital in 2009. Amery has a focus on investment in retail and consumer related businesses.
The investment will be a significant boost to Oliver Sweeney, and will enable amongst other things a new marketing strategy as well as the introduction of Licensing as a principal channel.
Oliver Sweeney operates six standalone retail stores in the UK (four in central London, and one each in Manchester and Leeds), as well as the growing e-commerce site oliversweeney.com, and employs 60 staff.
Oliver Sweeney is under the direction of two industry veterans.
CEO Tim Cooper is the brand’s Cobbler-in-Chief, and has been a footwear industry leader for over 30 years. Chairman Maurice Helfgott, who introduced the deal to BGF, is Chairman of Amery Capital, and currently sits on the board of Moss Bros plc and as well as being a former Main Board Director of Marks & Spencer.
As a part of the investment, Investment Director Alistair Brew joins the Oliver Sweeney Board as Non-Executive Director, and Adam Leigh, who successfully lead and sold The Communications Agency, joins as an Independent Non-Executive Director.
Maurice Helfgott, Chairman at Oliver Sweeney commented: “Amery Capital invests in opportunities that professional investors may wisely avoid and turns them into opportunities that they then can’t resist. Over the past three years, Oliver Sweeney has developed rapidly and sustainably, quickly reaching the critical juncture in its development at which it now finds itself.
“There is now a great opportunity to build our brand, product and reputation, especially internationally, from its current base of obsessive customers. Men are ever more interested in shoes,
style and individuality. The investment from BGF is perfectly timed to transform the business into the next British menswear success story.”
Alistair Brew, Investment Director at BGF added: “Oliver Sweeney is a fantastic business with some exceptionally talented people working for it, offering its customers a wide range of high quality handmade products and a great online experience. We believe that this is an opportunity to back an established men’s shoe brand that has grown well, building a loyal customer following at the same time.
“Very thorough due diligence has been exercised throughout this investment, and we are keen to grow Oliver Sweeney’s profitability by introducing Licensing and then implementing a decisive shift in channel mix. We can support companies like this; by providing a financial boost and strengthening the balance sheet to realise strategic opportunities.”