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Fashion e-tailer Atterley comes back from administration with new business model

It happened very suddenly, just a few weeks after Christmas, the UK e-tailer announced it was closing.

Atterley was founded in 2011 by Katie Starmer-Smith and changed its name from Atterley Road to Atterley last June. The online store which was hailed in the UK press as a brilliant womenswear store, thanks to its beautifully cut key pieces and a focus on chic workwear that consumers could also rock to a cocktail party afterwards.

Then suddenly in January  it was gone, with a few comments on the brand’s Instagram post being the main signal of its departure. At the time the online retailer also said in the statement that all orders placed before it fell into administration were going to be delivered, but that it would not accept returns or process refunds for goods, leaving consumers sad and disappointed.

It was also interesting because the year before the chief executive Sally-Anne Newson, told Vogue magazine: “We have big ambitions, in fact our goal is to be £100m by 2020. We’ve definitely got our sights on other international markets in the future – with the obvious first choices being France and Germany.”

Now, after a tumultuous start to the year Atterley is back. The social media channels are booming again and the site has a new angle, it’s no longer focused on womenswear designed in-house, instead it’s going to be a platform for independent global fashion design talent and independent boutiques.

In an interview with the Scotsman , entrepreneur Mike Welch (who had originally owned a small stake in Atterley) explained how he is reviving the name and transforming the business model. 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.”

In the same interview the CMO of Atterley, Nick Freer, added that fashion partners had already been established in global markets, the US and Australia.

It’s an interesting move for the brand. WGSN Associate Editor of Womenswear Laura Yiannakou says:  “Personally, I’m really happy that entrepreneur Mike Welch has had the sense to resurrect Atterley. It came as a huge shock to me that they’d closed just after Christmas, as they had really turned the company’s image around for the better. The branding was on-point, and the clothing line was really tapping into that aspirational-yet-affordable part of the market – a la Cos and Finery – and there is a real gap for that kind of retailer at the moment, especially in the UK. Plus, being online, it was so accessible.

“However, it will be interesting to see if this new retail model will resonate with the brand’s core consumer who came to Atterley for the in-house design details and brand messaging. Let’s hope the network of independent fashion retailers they are teaming up with stick to the aesthetic and that affordable price point in order to fulfill the full potential on a global scale.”

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