By Jared Lynch from smh.com.au
Sign of the times: Paul and Ian Everest. Photo: Glenn Hunt
A clothing retailer that catapulted its founders to the BRW Young Rich List three years ago has collapsed.
It is the latest victim in a long line of fashion failures as consumers pull back on spending and the big chains squeeze suppliers over margins while also introducing their own lines of private-label clothes.
Action and streetwear brand Unit Technologies, which employs 40 people and supplies more than 400 independent retailers, was placed into receivership on Wednesday after struggling with a plunge in consumer spending.
Brothers Paul and Ian Everest started the company in 2002 after their parents invested $600, which was used to buy a screen-printing press. The pair, now in their early 30s, gave up their day job two years later and in 2011 made their rich list debut with a combined wealth of $25 million.
Although the past year had been tough for fashion retailers in Australia, international growth had helped sustain the business.
In 2013, the siblings were worth about $22 million, earning them 78th and 79th place on the Young Rich List.
Ferrier Hodgson partners Tim Michael and James Stewart have been appointed voluntary administrators. Mr Michael said Unit, which operated seven stores in Australia, succumbed to a decline in local consumer discretionary spending.
He said the company would continue to run as normal while he and Mr Stewart tried to sell the brand.
”We are immediately calling for expressions of interest for a sale of the business as a going concern.” Mr Michael said all employees would continue to be paid and he expected the federal government’s General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme to cover their entitlements if the business cannot be sold.
A Ferrier Hodgson spokesman declined to say how much creditors were owed.
The Everests’ big break came in 2007 when major Australian surf and streetwear retailers began selling their apparel.
Last year the company partnered with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee to produce a globally distributed line of apparel.
Other recent brand collapses include Lisa Ho, Bettina Liano, Ojay, Fletcher Jones and Satch.