DUBAI — “For me this is a new day. I’m very excited,” Alice Temperley said in a video interview Monday, sharing the news of the acquisition of a majority stake in her brand by Times Square Group LLC. “It’s a mix of both relief and excitement.”
“We have been through really tricky times, from Brexit to COVID, which was hugely challenging to everyone in our business, especially brands like ours, which were based in the U.K. and focused on evening and bridal.”
The move to take on a strategic partner, she said, “is to take us to the next level.”
Temperley said the acquisition allows her to step away from the logistics, finance and operations side of the business. “I can really focus now on new product categories.” She and Luca Donnini will remain with the company as creative director and chief executive officer, respectively.
Ritesh Punjabi, founder and CEO of Times Square LLC, said in a statement: “Embarking on this journey with Temperley London and Alice herself, marks a defining moment for Times Square Group. We are looking forward to creating a legacy that extends beyond Dubai and the U.K.”
The Dubai-based company has interests in a wide array of businesses from tech to retail, and operates brands Manolo Blahnik, Zadig & Voltaire, Furla and others in the Middle East.
The first major milestone in the partnership will be the opening of a flagship in London dedicated to the full Temperley London experience, planned for the second quarter of next year. “This location will have everything in one place, from ready-to-wear, evening, bridal and our interior collaborations,” the designer said. Although they have identified the space, she said they are not ready to reveal it just yet. “I’m a little superstitious in that way. I don’t want to jinx the process.”
The brand also plans to add lingerie and swimwear and Temperley is in Spain and Italy this week looking at potential partners for bags and shoes. The main focus is to grow the brand’s global wholesale distribution with a stronger rtw collection, across categories. “We are looking at strengthening well-priced rtw that really works globally, from America to Asia.”
Temperley restructured her brand in 2021 after filing for business administration.
“This is a brand I’ve built at my kitchen table. We have been in business for 22 years, which is a long time of very hard work. We managed through with farm girl courage. There were many times we could have given up. But when you do what you do because you really enjoy it, you will fight for it.”
The company tightened its belt, and moved head office operations to a farm in Somerset, England, Temperley’s home county.
“The restructure allowed us to focus on the best of what we do.”
She said the slowdown in COVID-19 gave her a chance to dig through her archives and create an archive collection of the very best of her work. “We took those trunk shows to markets all over the world, from Texas to Palm Beach. People loved it and we saw incredible sales.”
Temperley said the hard times were a test, but she was brought up to keep going. “My father raised us to have nerves of steel and to keep working,” she said with a laugh. “Ultimately, we are a brand that survived and kept ticking along.”
Her combination of grit and instinct has brought the brand this far. This year, she said, is her 22nd year in business. “And 22 is my lucky number,” she explained, gesturing to the 22 tattooed on her wrist. “This year we are looking at stepping back in the world. We have been lucky to have our name with adjacencies to brands much bigger than us. This is a chance for us to grow up into a proper all-around offering because we finally have the backing to be able to do that now.”