Canadian Manufacturing

Iconic Canadian hat maker, Tilley Endurables, bought by UK firm

Manufacturer noted for quality and adventure enters next chapter



TORONTO—Re:Capital, the Canadian arm of Hilco Capital, has acquired hat and travel clothing designer and manufacturer, Tilley Endurables, for an undisclosed sum.

The company, which was founded by entrepreneur Alex Tilley in 1980, is famous around the world for the iconic Tilley Hat – an extremely high quality, sailor’s and outdoorsmen’s cap. The Tilley Hat was borne out of Alex Tilley’s frustration with the poor design and quality of sailing hats then on the market, leading him to embark on a quest to create a proper hat, one in keeping with the quality and design of his sailboat.

From its initial success with the sailing fraternity, Tilley Hats quickly became the headgear of choice for hikers, hunters, fishermen and even the Canadian military.

“Alex Tilley has built a great business and a very strong brand around phenomenal products over the last 30 years,”Paul McGowan, CEO of Re:Capital, said. “We’re delighted to pick up the mantle and draw on Re:Capital’s expertise and resources to grow the business further and take Tilley to new markets around the world.”

Tilley Hats enjoy a fiercely loyal following among adventurers and travellers the world over thanks to their quality, practicality and durability, with customers frequently relating their Tilley tales to the company. Legend has it that Tilley Hats have emerged unscathed from the jaws of a lion and the digestive system of an elephant.

With the success of the original Tilley Hat in 1984, the company expanded the range to include variations on the classic design for different environments, together with similarly well-designed and made travel clothing and accessories. The company now employs over 200 people across its manufacturing, wholesale and retail operations in Canada and wholesale operations in the UK and USA.

Tilley Hats have always been made by hand in Canada in a process involving 41 steps, 23 pairs of hands and 15 pieces of fabric. The finished products are stocked in more than 2,500 stores worldwide.

“Tilley is a proudly local business, which has grown organically into a brand with global reach, in large measure through the spirit of adventure of its founder, staff and clients,” Stephen Moore, Investment Director of Re:Capital Canada, said. “At Re:Capital, we are dedicated to collaborating with Canadian businesses to find solutions to competitive challenges and to enhance stakeholder value.”

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