Louise Barnes

Louise Barnes

Current position: Founder, Diagnosis Retail

Course: BCom, French, 1986

Expertise

This mentor may be of interest to students of retail business and those with an interest in enterprise, business management, product and brand development / marketing.

Profile

Louise’s first job was on a graduate training scheme with the Burton Group ( today known as Arcadia), where she learned the basics of Buying and Merchandising. She subsequently spent two years at Etam (a French fast fashion clothing business, now trading in Europe) and then joined Monsoon in 1992, where she spent 11 years and eventually became Brand Director.

Her first role as a business leader came in 2003, when she joined Fat Face as CEO. A growing brand turning over c£20m at the time, Louise and her team opened c 25 stores per year, developed the online and catalogue business, extended the product range, established wholesale, licensing and an international business. Fat Face was sold twice to Private Equity investors, latterly to Bridgepoint in 2007 for over £350m.

After 7 years as CEO and two successful exits, Louise left to become Chairman of Joules, helping the founder to reshape the board and plan a strategy for growth. In 2010 she invested in Fenn Wright Manson alongside Darwin Private Equity, as Executive Chairman and spent 18 months developing the business.

Now, through her business Diagnosis Retail, she shares her experience and passion for all things retail, working with founders and private equity to get the best out of small and growing businesses. Louise is a strong believer in mentoring, and would be of particular interest to students of business, finance and management, and those who are interested in working in retail, business and finance.