Executive Shaving Company becomes Scotland’s newest employee-owned business

The Executive Shaving Company team, pictured Left to Right: e-commerce manager Robert Burton, Nicole Barbour of packing duties, commercial manager Ally Hardy, Kirsty Shields of packing duties, directors Shona and Brian Mulreany and Freddie the team dog.

GLASGOW-based online retailer of men’s wet shaving and grooming items, The Executive Shaving Company, has become the latest firm in Scotland to embrace employee ownership with all staff taking a stake in the business

The move comes just weeks after new census data revealed there were 195 employee-owned businesses (EOBs) in Scotland at the end of the 2021/22 financial year – with The Executive Shaving Company plus other recent transitions now bringing that total to just over 200. The census was commissioned by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), which is part of Scottish Enterprise and the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise) that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models.

Employee ownership gives employees a meaningful stake in their organisation together with a genuine say in how it is run. EOBs are also more resilient than non-employee-owned businesses during times of economic crisis, as well as being more profitable, more productive and having greater staff engagement.

Brian Mulreany, Director of The Executive Shaving Company, said: “My fellow director Shona and I were retiring and wanted to ensure that the business not only remained in Scotland, but also that the jobs of our loyal employees were protected. We heard about employee ownership from a business contact and it seemed like a perfect fit for our company culture, as well as anchoring the company in its home city of Glasgow.”

“CDS were a great help throughout the whole process – from assessing the feasibility of an employee buyout to the actual transition. Our employees were immediately on board and are really proud to now be part of a 100% employee-owned company. I’m sure their new stake in the business will inspire lots of future innovation and ensure the company continues to grow and thrive.”

Clare Alexander, Head of CDS, added: “More and more Scottish businesses are transitioning to employee ownership and we’re proud to support them on that journey. We understand the importance of inclusive business models like EOBs and Co-ops in terms of creating a wellbeing economy where fair work, a values-driven approach and strong community links are every bit as important as profits.”

“As we continue to work towards the Scottish Government target of having 500 EOBs in Scotland by 2030, it is fantastic to see companies such as The Executive Shaving Company making the move to employee ownership – a business model that not only creates better places to work, but punches well above its weight in terms of resilience, profitability, productivity and staff engagement.”

CDS funded a feasibility study, allowing The Executive Shaving Company’s leadership to make an informed decision on whether to move to employee ownership. Once the company had decided to proceed, its transition was project-managed by 4-consulting, with legal services from Lindsays and financial inputs from Jenkins Dunbar.

Scotland is the third largest growth region in the UK for EOBs, with the sector here increasing by 13% since June 2020. CDS is the only dedicated service in Scotland aimed at supporting business growth through more employee ownership and co-operative business models.

To help business owners decide if employee ownership is the right exit strategy for them, CDS currently offers advice and support via a 100% funded ownership succession review and employee ownership feasibility study. Specialists are also able to advise around implementation.

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