Kettlewell Colours sold to Refined Brands Group
Refined Brands Group – the digitally native portfolio of ethically sourced, natural and sustainable British brands – has acquired Kettlewell Colours, a fast-growing online retailer of high-quality own-brand women’s clothing and accessories, with a strong focus on ethical fashion. Corporate finance advisor BCMS advised the shareholders of Kettlewell Colours on the transaction.
Headquartered in Somerset, Kettlewell Colours offers an extensive catalogue of premium wardrobe pieces and accessories, in over 300 colour shades, across multiple product categories. The business is the market leader in the concept of colour analysis, which takes into account the tone of an individual customer’s skin, eyes, and hair to match them with a palette of harmonious seasonal colour combinations. Using an innovative, digital content-led approach, Kettlewell Colours guides customers on their shopping journeys, towards colours and styles to elevate their confidence.
“The BCMS team took the time to really understand our business and its potential from the get-go and in doing so managed to attract strong, strategic interest from a number of potential suitors” – Melissa and John Nicholson, Kettlewell Colours
Engaging with customers via both catalogues and digital channels, Kettlewell Colours is a UK success story, which continues to experience growth in demand at home and abroad, particularly in the US. First founded in 2004 by Melissa Nicholson and her husband John, Kettlewell Colours was created as an online one-stop-shop for women who love to wear colour all year round. Adopting an ethos of fair-trading practices, Kettlewell Colours works predominantly with small, family-run factories who share their environmental values.
Kettlewell Colours represents a complementary and strategic acquisition for Refined Brands, who are digital pioneers of the ethical fashion movement, with a strong focus on British heritage and high-quality manufacturing. Kettlewell Colours joins sustainable Cornish lifestyle brand Celtic & Co., ethical childrenswear brand Frugi, and the upcycled cashmere accessories brand Turtle Doves in the Refined Brands portfolio.
Deal perspectives: Kettlewell Colours
Melissa Nicholson, founder of Kettlewell Colours, said: “I am thrilled to be joining a fantastic group of entrepreneurial British brands with sustainability at their heart. I am really looking forward to partnering with the Refined Brands team to accelerate the growth of Kettlewell Colours in the UK and Internationally, introducing more people to the powerful benefits of wearing your best colours.”
“We would not hesitate in recommending BCMS. We quite literally could not have done this without them. In fact, we wouldn’t have even made it to the starting line!” – Melissa and John Nicholson, Kettlewell Colours
Commenting on BCMS’ role as advisor in the transaction, Melissa and John Nicholson added: “It has been such an amazing and satisfying experience having BCMS guide us through the journey and complexities of finding a buyer for our business. We did not know what to expect from a sale process at the outset, but the team were always there to support and advise us, providing strong partnership and leadership from preparation through to completion.
“The BCMS team took the time to really understand our business and its potential from the get-go and in doing so managed to attract strong, strategic interest from a number of potential suitors. Despite a very challenging and uncertain economic backdrop, they managed to maintain momentum and ultimately delivered a very successful outcome, which met each of our respective objectives and priorities whilst also securing the best possible home for the business.”
Melissa and John continued: “It shouldn’t be underestimated that the journey to exit takes time and requires some considerable attention and involvement with your advisor. As with all relationships, it’s all about the people you deal with, and so at this point we have to get personal about both Jeremy Bate and Apeksha Tanna, who were always available with sound advice and positivity even when things were difficult. You have to be the right kind of person to do this job and Jeremy and Apeksha are the right kind. Their considerable experience demonstrated skill, tenacity, calm and good humour throughout. They were instrumental in running a highly effective sale process and achieving an amazing outcome for us all. Thank you both so much.
“We can’t imagine starting and selling another business but if you are going to venture down this path, we would not hesitate in recommending BCMS. We quite literally could not have done this without them… In fact, we wouldn’t have even made it to the starting line!”
Jeremy Bate, Senior Director, BCMS – who led on our advice to the shareholders of Kettlewell Colours – added: “It was a very enjoyable journey advising John and Melissa on the sale of the business, and we are delighted to have delivered an outcome which realises both of their respective objectives. Despite ongoing challenges faced by the wider retail market, Kettlewell Colours continues to deliver consistent growth, proving itself to be a very strong and resilient performer. Refined Brands is a great home for the business – the vision and strategy for the combined group is highly compelling, and we look forward to seeing that success unfold in due course.”
Deal perspectives: Refined Brands
James Williams, Group Managing Director, of Refined Brands said: “We have long been admirers of Kettlewell’s philosophy, renowned for products that offer longevity with a focus on maximising your full wardrobe and a cost per wear ethos at the heart. Working alongside the team, we are looking forward to extending natural, organic and recycled fibres through the range over the coming seasons.”
Ben Barnett, Chairman, Refined Brands, added: “Refined Brands seeks to create a differentiated family of sustainable fashion brands, alongside founders and teams that share our passion and vision. Melissa, John and the Kettlewell Colours team have built a phenomenally engaged community built around a deep understanding of colour. I am delighted to welcome Melissa, her team and the Kettlewell Colours community to the group.”
Alongside BCMS, advisors on the deal included Knights (legal advisors to Kettlewell Colours), George Green LLP (legal advisors to Refined Brands), Kvika Bank (financial advisor to Refined Brands) and Grant Thornton LLP (financial due diligence for the transaction).
Refined Brands is the leading digitally native portfolio of ethically sourced, natural and sustainable British brands. Built on the back of British heritage brands and high-quality local manufacturing, the group was founded in February 2021 by Refined Capital Partners, the investment company for a group of committed retailers including Ben Barnett, former CEO of TFG London (owner of the Phase Eight, Whistles and Hobbs brands) and retail veterans Michael Rahamim and Lee Harlow. The group is funded by the team, in partnership with HSBC, Kvika Bank and Souter Investments, the family investment office of Stagecoach co-founder, Sir Brian Souter.