Michiel van Kempen is the new owner of fashion label Yoek

Company Name Yoek
Transaction Buy-side
Website Open
Sector Retail
Tags Legal, Management Buy-In

If you had told Michiel van Kempen (53) two years ago that one day he would own a fashion label for plus-size womenswear, he would have laughed in your face. He recently signed Yoek’s acquisition contract all the same. Marktlink advisors Jeffrey Scholtens and Mike Korenromp guided the Management Buy-In and helped realise Michiel’s entrepreneurial ambition.

“For me, it just makes sense that I am now a full-time entrepreneur. Over the past couple of years, I have been able to steer my own course as a salaried manager. When I had worked out the strategy and the team had been established, I started to seriously consider my options as an entrepreneur. Through my network, Yoek crossed my path. A market leader in a niche, a solid team of twenty employees, varied sales channels, a strong online presence and well-known in the Benelux region. Enough reasons for me to contact the then-owner and to hire a financial advisor since our meetings quickly turned quite serious.”

The honest story

“It ultimately resulted in the signing of the letter of intent, but the whole acquisition process proved to be a bit more complex. This caused me to look for a firm with a broader selection of services. From the first meeting with Marktlink, they were honest about the very slim chance of success for the chosen direction laid out in the LOI. Which was very unfortunate, especially because that meant not being able to make good on my promises to the selling party. Back to the drawing board, we went. Together with all parties involved, we came to the right solution to give shape to this Management Buy-In. It was a very hectic time with plenty of concerns, but we did manage to arrange the financing. That is what I appreciate about Jeffrey and Mike, they were not trying to push for a quick solution but focused on evaluating the acquisition from my point of view and what would be the right steps for me to take.”

“I am very proud of the opportunity to bring this company to the next level.”
- Michiel van Kempen, Yoek

“In the new structure, the shares are distributed among several people, including the two selling owners who now both have a minority interest. I am happy that they are still involved with the company, because of its continuity but also because of their professional expertise in the fashion industry. I am very proud of the opportunity to bring this company to the next level. I have limited knowledge of fashion, but my entrepreneurial vision matches Yoek very well.”

Taking the company to the next phase

“In my previous positions as Managing Director, I was the person ultimately responsible for the company. But to manage a company as an entrepreneur is a different thing entirely. The kick I get out of this is greater than anything I’ve ever experienced. My role within Yoek is not so much product-oriented as facilitating and supporting the team. I enjoy expanding things that are good, for example, through internationalisation and through the extensive use of data. My strong suit is bringing a company to the next growth phase, instead of building a company from the ground up. Lucky for me, Youk still has a lot of opportunities for growth.”

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