British retail isn’t all doom and gloom as our new series intends to show.
The business press is filled with grim news about the state of British retail. There’s no hope for the British High Street apparently, and the days of “nation of shopkeepers” are long gone according to many. As our own research shows though things are brighter than they seem, and the UK’s littered with stories that show you can succeed as an independent retailer.
Essentially a group of mates making money off the back of their passions, the tale of fashion brand Weekend Offender is as impressive as any. So that’s where we’re picking up our new series on British retailers, equipped with stories to get you inspired…
Back in 2004 Welsh retailer Sam Jones met Adam Keyte, a Fashion distributor based in Birmingham. A run-of-the-mill business trip, it took a turn when Jones spotted some posters, revealing Keyte’s love of Ibiza and the island’s clubbing culture.
The pair got chatting and soon realised they shared plenty of interests and experiences. Both stalwarts of the 80’s and 90’s club scene as well as its football terraces, both thought there might be scope to create clothing centered around these passions. Fortunately it turned out Jones had a friend – Rhydian Powell – who had a dab hand for design too, so the three got together and started working on products inspired by football, clubbing and film.
Initially, things didn’t go too well. Their first run of eight t-shirts went to handful of Keyte’s favourite shops, but they promptly lost a few grand as they struggled shift their designs. As Keyte now suggests:
“We were too busy trying to balance our full time jobs with our hectic weekends and we didn’t have the experience to run a brand.”
And with this setback the three went their separate ways and Weekend Offender was put aside.
Back from the dead
In 2009 though the trio decided to give it another shot. Older, wiser and bursting with creativity Weekend Offender was reborn.
Offering eye catching new lines like their Rogue designs the brand began to capture attention, including that of Aaron Thalmann – a retail connection of Keyte’s. Thalmann had just sold a big fashion brand and Weekend Offender offered an interesting project, so the experienced ex-punk took a leading role in the position of CEO.
Boasting three experienced fashion heads backed up by a talented designer, the next four years saw Weekend Offender grow massively as a brand. Mixing distinctive t-shirts and high-end creations they caught countless retailers’ attention, right from House of Fraser to Footasylum.
In 2012 they opened their flagship store in the heart of London’s Soho, and the brand was thrust into the public eye as famous faces picked up their designs. A glance at the Instagram page shows Tom Hardy, Idris Elba and Liam Gallagher all adorning Weekend Offender.
This solid UK base has given the brand ambition to now go stateside, and they’ve recently taken on a new head of sales to do so (from Firetrap no less). In Keyte’s own words:
“Weekend Offender’s already gone further than we ever imagined as a brand!”
From losing cash to clothing film stars, Weekend Offender’s come a long way. Not bad for a brand born out of three mates love of football, clubbing and film.
Inspired by the boys from Weekend Offender? Don’t forget to protect yourself with a shop insurance policy before you set up shop!