18 Oct 2020

Tattarang brings iconic Australian brand home

Tattarang, one of Australia’s largest private investment groups owned by Andrew and Nicola Forrest, has announced its purchase of iconic Australian company R.M. Williams from L Catterton, the largest consumer-focused private equity firm in the world.

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Founded in 1932 by bushman and entrepreneur Reginald Murray ‘R.M.’ Williams, R.M. Williams is one of Australia’s most iconic brands, famous for handcrafting the best boots in the world in its Adelaide workshop.

“Nicola and I are incredibly proud and humbled to be able to bring R.M. Williams back under Australian ownership,” Dr Andrew Forrest AO said.  “R.M. Williams is a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship.”

Nicola Forrest AO said she and Andrew looked forward to meeting and supporting the R.M. Williams’ team, with most of the 900 employees based in Australia, including 400 team members at its workshop in Salisbury, Adelaide.

“Andrew and I want to continue the legacy of this great company, and that means continuing to employ and support the Australians that have built and grown the brand,” Mrs Forrest said. “By bringing R.M. Williams back into Australian hands, we will ensure the Australian craftmanship continues to be loved and worn all around the world.”

Both R.M. Williams and Tattarang have roots deeply ingrained within the Australian landscape and those who work it. Values of family, courage and determination and undeniable character are at the core of both companies.

The Forrests paid tribute to L Catterton, which has overseen a period of brand transformation at R.M. Williams where the business refocussed on its iconic, handcrafted one-piece of leather boots.

Raju Vuppalapati, CEO of R.M. Williams, stated “I am incredibly proud of the journey with R.M. Williams and L Catterton. I am delighted with the success we had with re-positioning the brand and delivering significant growth. R.M. Williams’ brand is the strongest it has ever been in its 88-year history.

“Our 2019 decision to invest in the second boot line, recruiting and training 100 additional employees in our Salisbury workshop, was an important milestone to enable us to continue the growth momentum. The R.M. Williams team and I look forward to Andrew and Nicola’s stewardship as we enter the next exciting phase of surprising and delighting our consumers with hand-crafted products made in Australia.”

Dr Forrest, who grew up on Minderoo Station in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara, said R.M. Williams was deeply entrenched within Australian culture.

“My life began in the outback and I’ve never left,” Dr Forrest said. “I started out as a jackaroo and continue to have a deep connection to the land and the people who work the land.   I’ve never forgotten the first time I pulled on a pair of RMs. To wear RMs is to wear the boots of the countless hard-working Australians that have come before us.”

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