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Forty Five Ten Co-Founder Brian Bolke Exits

The president of the Dallas-based luxury boutique, which was acquired by Texas billionaire Tim Headington three years ago, has departed to pursue consulting projects.
Brian Bolke | Source: Wade Griffith
By
  • Chantal Fernandez

DALLAS, United States — Seventeen years after co-founding the growing Dallas-based luxury retailer Forty Five Ten, Brian Bolke is stepping down from his role as president. He first relayed the news to friends and colleagues in an email on August 11, just two weeks after the opening of the boutique's fifth location in Napa Valley, California, its first outside of Texas.

“My decision was solely based on my desire to lead a life that is more balanced,” Bolke tells BoF in an e-mail. “I have put in place a world-class team, which I know will guide Forty Five Ten beautifully through its next chapter of growth.” His departure comes at a time of expansion at Forty Five Ten, which is a leader in a generation of independent specialty stores in secondary and tertiary American cities thriving in an increasingly challenged retail environment.

While Bolke's consistent presence at sales appointments and industry events will be missed by clients and colleagues alike, he isn't leaving the Forty Five Ten fold altogether. After taking some time off, he plans to start a small project-oriented consulting company, whose first client will be Headington Companies. The firm, owned by oil magnate, film producer and real estate developer Tim Headington, acquired a majority stake in Forty Five Ten in 2014, three years after the death of Bolke’s co-founder Shelly Musselman. “Now, three years after the sale of the brand, I decided the timing was right to let go of my day-to-day duties as president,” says Bolke. “I look forward to working with [Headington Companies] on a variety of initiatives across the country.”

Forty Five Ten underwent a rapid expansion in 2016, opening a 37,000 square-foot flagship in downtown Dallas and its first location in Houston. That February, Bolke also hired former fashion editor and industry notable Taylor Tomasi Hill as vice president of creative and fashion director. TTH by Forty Five Ten in Dallas, a small-format store in Dallas specially curated by Hill, opened in August. That same year, Bolke also recruited Nick Wooster as fashion and creative director for men's. Bolke told BoF in July that overall sales have tripled in the last three years and an average of 40 percent of transactions each week are new customers.

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“The brand has grown from a local Dallas favorite to one with international recognition and global potential,” says Bolke. “All of this makes me so proud, and is a dream realised.”

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