Fat Face founder, Tim Slade, was the final guest this term of Plymouth College’s Entrepreneurial Society (ESOC).
Tim, who spent 18 months in the police force before leaving because ‘he didn’t like wearing a tie’, started the business in 1988 with Jules Leaver when they needed money to fund the ski season in Meribel. Named after their favourite black run, La Face in Val d’Isère, they started the business selling printed sweatshirts out of their rucksacks, which over the next five years expanded into a lifestyle outdoor clothing range with a shop on Fulham Road in London. In 2007, with more than 100 stores opened, Fat Face was sold to private equity company, Bridgepoint. Today, the business has more than 200 stores in the UK and Ireland.
Tim talked to the students about the value of the brand and staying true to its heritage. He said that it was important to believe in it and be passionate about it. Tim said that the Fat Face brand wasn’t just about ski culture clothing, but also about its ethos to inspire customers and staff to embrace life and seek out new adventures. He said that in its early days the company offered a ‘can do’ and welcoming experience for the customer that has remained very much part of its brand.
After his talk, Tim hosted a question and answer session. The event was opened and closed by ESOC committee members, Robin Willoughby and Oscar Marsland.
ESOC was launched last year. The aim of the Society is to bring business and economics alive for students and to promote enterprise and leadership in them. As well as Tim Slade, other speakers have included Reggae Reggae Sauce creator Levi Roots; Wetherspoons founder, Tim Martin; MP Gary Streeter; and Two Four Chief Executive, Melanie Leach.