Atterley.com, a well-known fashion marketplace, has recently entered administration, resulting in its immediate closure. Brian Milne and David McGinness of French Duncan have been appointed as joint provisional liquidators. The company, which was based in Edinburgh, served as a boutique retail marketplace for over 250 independent boutiques, offering a wide range of around 3,000 brands.

This is not the first time that Atterley.com has faced financial difficulties. Back in 2016, when the company was backed by former Tesco boss Terry Leahy, it also went into administration. However, entrepreneur Mike Welch acquired the intellectual property assets and relaunched the platform as an e-commerce site catering to independent retailers later that same year.

Recently, Co-CEOs Kelly Byrne and Kenneth Alexander Baillie stepped down from their positions. Byrne resigned as a director of Atterley.com Holdings Limited and Atterley.com Retail Limited on December 8, while Baillie ceased to be a director of the former on December 22. The specific reasons behind the company’s failure have yet to be disclosed.

Until recently, Atterley.com had been experiencing positive growth. In 2020, the company launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to support its expansion plans after seeing a sales increase of over 200% during the Covid-19 lockdown. It also secured Alexandra Shulman, former editor of British Vogue, as a strategic advisor. Last year, the business raised £3 million in funding, with support from Maven Capital Partners, Scottish Enterprise, and existing shareholders. Additionally, it reported strong sales and expansion into new markets.

An interesting development occurred earlier this year when Kelly Byrne, previously of Boohoo Group, joined Atterley.com as its chief growth officer. Her appointment was hailed as a “superstar hire” by Mike Welch, and she eventually became co-CEO alongside Baillie. In the spring, Byrne expressed her optimism about the company’s growth trajectory and future prospects.

The administration of Atterley.com brings to light the challenges faced by online marketplaces in the highly competitive fashion industry. Furthermore, it emphasizes the difficulties that independent boutiques may encounter as they navigate the ever-changing retail landscape. The impact of the closure on the 250 boutiques that relied on Atterley.com to reach customers remains uncertain. Observers will now closely monitor if a potential buyer emerges to rescue the platform or if the brand will succumb to its financial difficulties for a second time.

Useful links:
Atterley.com
French Duncan (administrators of Atterley.com)