Peter Simon, the founder of Monsoon and Accessorize, has taken a significant minority stake in Loaf, the British furniture and homeware retailer, for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in 2008 by entrepreneur Charlie Marshall, Loaf has become the UK's fastest growing homeware company with average annual sales growth of 81% over the last three years.
With plans to grow turnover from £20m to £100m over the next few years, Loaf had been looking for a suitable partner to help on this quest. Marshall, aged 39, commented: "Peter shares our values and approach to business. With forty years' experience of growing two of Britain's most successful retail names, his guidance and advice will help ensure we achieve our goals of filling the gap in the UK market for laid-back furniture and becoming a household name."
The predominantly online store launched five years ago when Marshall started out selling a select range of 12 beautifully made beds and just one perfect mattress. Having lost a whole Saturday trying to buy a bed, he saw an opportunity to make the shopping experience as quick and hassle-free as possible. So two years, 187 mattresses and bed factories later, Loaf was born.
While most were waiting for the financial markets to improve, Marshall saw the downturn as the ideal time to launch a business. He attributes Loaf's success to responding to consumers' demand for distinctive-looking and characterful furniture which doesn't burn a hole in the pocket.
This fuss-free formula paid off and in 2012 Loaf launched into other areas of the home with sofas and kitchen tables which now make up a significant part of the business. They will expand again in Spring 2014 into kitchen accessories and storage, console tables and home office furniture for the first time.
The 40 employees (or 'Loafers' as they like to call themselves) are based at their West London showroom-style HQ with the team set to grow to 60-strong over the next few months.
To achieve Marshall's expansion goals, retail destinations called 'Loaf Shacks' are planned to run alongside the online offering.