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Kinky Knickers factory bought out of administration by management team

Headen & Quarmby, the manufacturer behind Mary Portas’s Kinky Knickers line, has been bought out of administration by its former management team, safeguarding 12 jobs, Drapers can reveal.

Managing director David Moore, whose grandparents set up the factory in 1935, creative manager Paulette Roberts, merchandise manager Sameera Sethi and senior technical manager Sandra Ward, have bought the business and assets of the factory under the newly formed company, Headen & Quarmby UK Limited.

The manufacturer, which featured in the Channel 4 TV series Mary’s Bottom Line to produce the retail expert’s underwear line Kinky Knickers line, appointed administrators BDO in January after the delay of a large order and incurring bad debts hit the business.

Eight of the factory’s 33-strong workforce have returned to work today. Four more are expected to rejoin later this week.

Moore told Drapers that he hoped the majority of the roles would be filled by the second half of the year.

Moore said he was “absolutely elated” that the business had been rescued out of administration.

“I’ve been dying to get back into the factory after a lapse of four weeks,” he said. “The staff are absolutely delighted to be back at work.”

From today factory staff will begin to fulfil orders for Kinky Knickers, which accounts for about 25% of its turnover and is stocked in retailers including Liberty and John Lewis as well as 86 independents, and lingerie orders for other retailers.

Moore said Kinky Knickers was “the cornerstone of its future business plans”.

He added: “Portas Agency has been absolutely immense, we couldn’t have got through this without them. They’ve commited to stay with us as the exclusive manufacturer of Kinky Knickers, without which we would have had to reconsider how to make a success of the return of the business.”

Headen & Quarmby will be working on producing Kinky Knickers in new colours and lace structures.

Portas said: “I was so sorry to hear about the issues H&Q had in January and I’m thrilled they’ve had the balls and the vision to re-build.”

Headen & Quarmby will also restart plans to launch its own sleepwear and lingerie range Ella & Me in the next six weeks. It will be sold exclusively through an as-yet-undisclosed large retailer.

 

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