The upmarket slipper brand Mahabis has become the latest retail casualty, calling in the administrators days after Christmas.
Founded in 2014 by Ankur Shah, Mahabis aimed to revolutionise a staid market by targeting millennials with trendy woollen slippers that could be transformed into outdoor shoes using detachable rubber soles.
In a statement on its website, the company said: “We are very sorry to report that Mahabis Limited entered administration late on the 27th December 2018. We have, for the moment, ceased trading as the administrators take over the business … We are all desperately disappointed at this outcome. Please bear with us as we do our best to work through the current circumstances.”
The London-based company enjoyed explosive growth in its short life, selling close to 1m pairs of slippers in four years. In a recent interview with the Times, Shah said the company had identified a gap in the market for “the Nike of downtime”, and analysts suggested that the company was worth £75m-£100m. It is not clear what led to the company’s financial difficulties.
Shah, who first trained as a criminal barrister, previously enjoyed success with a social media advertising company that he sold to the credit checker Experian.
Mahabis relied heavily on pop-up ads to reach shoppers. Sales of the slippers, which cost around £70 a pair, were reported to be in excess of £20m.
No redundancies have been made at the company, which made a virtue of its flexible work culture. Staff worked a four-day week and were encouraged to “work from anywhere and at any time”. The company published what it called a Manifesto for downtime, for a healthier work-life balance.
Mahabis said customers wishing to return items would not receive a full refund and the process could take months as claims would be processed by the administrators: “We would recommend therefore that you consider carefully whether or not to actually return goods,” it said.