As co-founders and former co-chief executives of Matches Fashion, one of the premier independent fashion retailers in the United Kingdom and a rising challenger in the e-commerce market, Tom and Ruth Chapman turned a brick-and-mortar store into a global platform stocking the most influential international luxury brands, while championing British fashion talent. In 2015, they reported annual sales of £130m and growth at an average of 75 percent over the last four years.
Ruth and Tom created Matchesfashion.com — then known as Matches
Fashion — in 1987 in Wimbledon. They were the first multi-brand retailer to introduce designers including
into the UK market. A standalone menswear store was opened — along with MaxMara’s first franchise store — in 1992. The business currently operates five stores in premium locations across the British capital.
Over the years, the Chapman's expanded their retail network to include 14 stores across the British capital. In 2006, seeing the digital opportunity before many, Matchesfashion.com launched its e-commerce store. With great foresight, Matchesfashion.com launched with international shipping, allowing it to begin building an international business in the nascent days of e-commerce. Today, Matchesfashion.com stocks 400 established and emerging designers, receives over 70 million visitors a year, with 75 percent of orders coming from the 176 international markets the site serves.
In 2013, all brand platforms were renamed MATCHESFASHION.COM to create a uniform brand identity across several multimedia platforms. The company is a model example of digital retail, engaging in meaningful collaborations with style influencers who curate selections of apparel and accessories, themed shoppable edits and 24/7 personalised styling advice available online. The company’s website is responsible for over 90 percent of its revenue.
The pair stepped down as co-chief executives in 2015, taking on the role of joint chairmen instead. They were succeeded by their chief operating officer Ulric Jerome, who aims to establish Matchesfashion.com as the world’s foremost online luxury fashion retailer. Tom and Ruth remain intimately involved the business they built. In their new role as joint chairman, as well continuing to act as the public faces of the retailers, they are particularly focused on the international expansion of their business and activating new markets as it continues to expand.
This year, Matchesfashion.com, whose clientele is said to spend full price order average of £650 per online visit, shifted their European headquarters to The Shard, where 300 of their 500 employees now work.