On the 12th August Rock My was acquired by WLS Holdings, a new company formed and owned by Phoenix Asset Management which has over £1 billion under investment.
Rock My initially received investment in 2012. Adam and I sold a majority shareholding in the company in exchange for funding. I type that year (2012!?!) and it seems like a lifetime ago. Before babies. Before print media all but disappeared. Before everyone painted their shaker kitchen in various shades of Farrow & Ball grey paint. Before hashtag AD.
Just over 2 years ago Adam and I offered to buy the shareholding back so that we would have 100% ownership of the Rock My brand, our investors at the time refused, yet didn’t seem particularly interested in offering further funding or assisting in growing the brand. This was extremely frustrating. We had so many ideas for how we wanted to evolve, yet without the funds for development, we were unable to move the company forward.
Sure we could have carried on as we were for some time – maybe even years, making tweaks here and there, potentially improving certain efficiencies in order to allocate resource elsewhere. The truth is I wasn’t interested in stagnation as an option. I don’t think any business owner who cares about their brand would be. If any of you follow my personal instagram you may have read about the difficult year we have faced as a family. This has only made me more determined to be the best possible role model I can to my daughters. I would never want either of them to be taken advantage of, feel undervalued or “settle” for a career that no longer inspired and motivated them.
The online media landscape is changing faster than ever, huge previously successful brands are going into administration on a daily basis and the high street is on its knees. I truly believe it’s a case of innovate to elevate, or go home.
In June of this year our investors agreed to sell – in the 18 months between requesting to buy the business back ourselves and them refusing our offer, some of their other companies faced financial difficulty, a sale of some assets (their shareholding in Rock My included) was therefore opportune. WLS Holdings acquisition of Rock My and the associated funding is enabling us to invest in technology and design and plan a successful strategy that incorporates our core values. In the medium term, we will be building an entirely new platform we initially conceptualised several years ago but due to the aforementioned restrictions, were unable to progress.
It was really important to both Adam and I that our buyers had a similar ethos to us, that they believed in our ideas for the future and would support the fundamental changes we wanted to implement. WLS Holdings owns The Wedding Shop, Prezola and The Wedding Present Company – they have 30 years experience in the wedding industry so are an ideal fit for Rock My Wedding, our most successful online resource.
Our CEO is a woman. And a Mum. They fully support flexible working as we always have. I hope a time comes when I don’t have to highlight any of those points as exceptions to the corporate rules.
There have already been some significant changes to the business structure, we now have a Head Office in the Warwickshire countryside which I will share with you once we have actually decorated it – we received the keys on Friday and it already feels like a really positive way forward. The goony header image is me outside the front doors on our first day brandishing some flowers for our boardroom table.
Moving to office based working from a working-from-home model has meant some team members have decided to seek alternative employment, with staff based in Glasgow and Kent and everywhere in between, it would have been impossible for us to choose a location that was suitable for everyone. After a decade as a business owner selling your brand on was always going to be challenging, the journey has been both testing and enlightening.
If you are still here (!) thanks so much for reading. I’m back this time next week with more details on our plans to evolve our offering, the feedback received on our What is The Future Of Online Media was fascinating and has really assisted us in our plans for the future – please don’t think I just forgot about it and moved on.
As always, your thoughts and questions are most welcome in the comments box below.
P.S WLS Holdings have bought all of the Rock My group, including Rock My Family. Maybe we might even be able to resurrect it…