Pour Moi started in a tiny office above a shop in Macclesfield, packed with materials, cardboard boxes, two staff members and one belief – that people shouldn’t have to overpay for good-fitting lingerie, no matter what their size.
Now nearly 15 years later, Pour Moi has outgrown its premises, added swimwear and nightwear to its collections, bought major lingerie brands and moved to Brighton to a sunny office by the sea. But while it’s bigger and better than ever, the brand’s core philosophy has always remained the same.
We believe that the same bra should look just as good in a G cup as it does as a 34B. It should be the same bra for everyone.
When we started out it was just me and our head of design. In fact most of the Pour Moi staff have been here for years, with everyone doing a little bit of everything – it means we all know the business inside and out. In the early days I did a lot of the designing as well. My factory, bless them, really looked after me in creating the designs from my not-very-good sketches.
In 2007 Pour Moi introduced swimwear to its range. We wanted to give our customers something that other brands weren’t offering, Bikinis in good-fitting cup sizes that actually looked like bikinis in the larger sizes, not bras.
The line was a hit straight away and Pour Moi became the first full cup swimwear brand to be sold on ASOS in 2009.
With swimwear doing so well, the brand’s next focus was making sure all its lingerie was available up to a J cup, something it remains extremely passionate about. And customers appreciate their obsession over fit and design. People call our Amour in a J cup a ‘boob job bra’, because it’s not padded, but it’s triple-lined so it’s really supportive. It’s little details like that that really set us apart.
With customers clamouring for its J cup sizes, Pour Moi added sports bras to its collection in 2017, followed by beachwear in 2019.
In January 2019, Pour Moi bought not only Charnos and Lepel, but LF Intimates, the company that Michael himself worked at when he was just starting out.
Pour Moi instructed Gannons to act on the purchase of LF Intimates, a lingerie brand owning Lepel and Charnos (LFI). We further instructed Gannons to assist with the restructure of our business so that the IP and assets were owned by the holding and trading company.
What challenges (if any) did you face?
Pour Moi had a complicated structure to restructure as tax efficiently as possible after the purchase of LFI. This involved creating a details step by step instruction allowing us to achieve what was desired. To reach tax efficiency, Gannons had to seek HMRC clearance on the entire structure, which involved incorporating a new holding company to hold the intellectual property of the brand, carrying out a share for share exchange of the trading company to place it within the structure and carrying various asset transfers, stock transfers and distributions in specie to complete the structure we wished to have going forward.
As with any purchase, there are negotiation battles, the price, restrictive covenants, the warranties and the limitations. The particular complication in this deal with that LFI had been purchased by the sellers from a third party, and warranties had been given by that party, it took careful negotiation and drafting to ensure that we were protected by passing through the obligations from the previous sellers so as not to put an unfair burden on the sellers.
What would you say about working with Gannons?
Gannons were responsive, efficient and supportive. We were pleased to have them on side in our negotiations during the purchase process. They, took the time to really understand our needs and knew when to be tactical, when to push and when to let go. They have in-depth knowledge of restructuring companies and were able to guide us through what is a very complex structure for tax efficiency quickly and painlessly, providing a full corporate service.
A highly experienced and practical lawyer with an additional qualification as a Chartered tax advisor, Catherine is also a regular writer and speaker for a variety of commercial organisations.