An online fashion brand that fell into administration last month is back in business following a deal with entrepreneur Mike Welch.
Welch, the founder of Borders-based online tyre fitter Blackcircles.com – sold to French giant Michelin last year – is now pledging to support local retailers after acquiring the intellectual property assets of Atterley from administrators at KPMG.
The entrepreneur, who had owned a small stake in Atterley before it collapsed, made the deal – for an undisclosed sum – through his Welch Group investment vehicle and is planning to transform the business into a platform for independent fashion boutiques.
He said: “The previous Atterley team did an excellent job of establishing a high quality offer and reputation to a very loyal audience and it was a shame to see it end. We saw the investment opportunity to take the Atterley brand on and back a team to deliver an innovative and exciting new proposition to the same audience.”
Atterley had been backed by Sir Terry Leahy, the former Tesco boss who was also a major investor in Blackcircles, founded by Welch in 2001.
It is understood that Welch will not be involved in executive operations at Atterley, which currently has a six-strong team in Edinburgh and is planning to add a presence in the US.
Chief marketing officer Nick Freer said: “The business is being reshaped into a platform for a network of independent fashion retailers to trade with discerning consumers across the world. Significant progress has already been made in appointing partners, with UK, US and Australian retailers among the early recruits. “
“Our mission is to support the local guys and provide them with the tech tool kit and marketing reach to compete with the big online retailers and the high street. We have a core team in place who have hit the ground running and an executive team is being recruited to lead Atterley’s development in the UK, US and internationally.”
Atterley was founded in 2012 as a multi-brand retailer along similar lines as Asos, but focusing on “30-something” suburban women, and later launched its own-brand fashion label. Research agency Conlumino predicts the value of online fashion sales in the UK will be worth £7.5 billion next year.