Upmarket slipper brand Mahabis has been bought out of administration by the founder of mattress-in-a-box firm Simba Sleep.
James Cox, the founder of Simba and co-head of the footwear firm’s new owner YYX Capital, will take over as chief executive from Mahabis founder Ankur Shah who will leave the business.
Shah, who trained as a criminal barrister, founded the slipper company in 2014 and said on Friday he would be moving on to new projects.
Cox said: “Ankur Shah and his team have built a great business in Mahabis which unfortunately just stumbled at a critical point.” The 16-strong staff at Mahabis will remain at the company.
Shah said the sale was a “great outcome for both employees and suppliers” after the “difficult” decision to call in administrators just after Christmas. “We achieved an enormous amount in a very short space of time,” he said.
In 2017 Mahabis sold £25m worth of its £70-a-pair trendy woollen slippers and made underlying profits of £2.5m. But the company was forced to call in administrators in late December after slumping to a £1.2m loss last year. Sales slid to £20m as management was distracted by dealing with two attempted takeover bids from private equity firms while the cost of marketing via Facebook soared.
Cox said he had long admired Mahabis, whose slippers can be transformed into outdoor shoes using detachable rubber soles. “With the right backing, we believe we can further grow Mahabis globally, and at speed,” he said.
He plans to start selling the slippers through established high street retailers in the UK, Europe and the US, which is already Mahabis biggest market. The brand will also launch exclusive ranges for partners including Simba.
“The product itself is very good. We will be improving it and bringing more to the story,” Cox said.
“[Mahabis] has an established brand name and good customer recognition having already sold nearly a million pairs of its iconic design footwear in over 100 countries in just over four years,” Cox said. “We love the idea of taking a UK brands and globalising them.”