Arbuthnot Commercial ABL -

A client success story: Angels Costumes

Our Client Success Series tells the stories of some of the unique and talented clients we have supported, how they got started, and how we helped them achieve their ambitions.


20th July 2023


Funding the fabric of success for Angels Costumes for generations to come

Angels Costumes (“Angels”), the world's largest privately owned collection of film, theatre, and television costumes, has been an iconic presence in the entertainment industry for 180 years. From its expanded premises in Hendon, North West London, Angels houses over one million items throughout eight miles of hanging costumes. From London's “Theatreland” to New York's “Broadway”, and from Pinewood Studios to Hollywood, the business continues to captivate customers around the world.

Collaborating with iconic directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese, Angels Costumes has earned a stellar reputation for its exceptional craftsmanship and unwavering attention to detail throughout its illustrious history.

The company has made an indelible mark on the film industry, contributing to the creation of thirty-six Oscar-winning productions for Best Costume Design. From timeless classics like "Cleopatra" and "Lawrence of Arabia" to global hits such as "Star Wars," "Titanic," and "The Great Gatsby," Angels' work has garnered international acclaim. Additionally, they have earned thirty-four BAFTAs for their outstanding work in the same category.

Despite facing a devastating setback in 1989 when fire engulfed their premises on Shaftesbury Avenue, Angels' indomitable spirit prevailed. In 1992, the acquisition of Bermans, their main competitor, marked a pivotal moment for the company, cementing Angels position as the global market leader in costume.

Angles Costumes

Seeking support for future growth

It was in 2018, when Angels Costumes sought additional funding to fuel its future growth plans. They required a higher level of working capital to meet the seasonal demands of the market and acquire new stock which their current banking institution could not fulfil.

As a family-run business that had been banking with the same institution since it was founded in 1840, the decision to switch to a new funding partner was a significant step. However, this was made significantly easier by our responsive approach towards providing a flexible £5 million asset-based lending facility that would enable the business to drive further growth.

By demonstrating a deep interest in understanding Angels' business and its objectives and having our key decision-makers actively involved, we were able to build a strong relationship with the business owners and structured a deal that provided greater headroom than Angels' previous facility.

On completing the original £5 million deal, Tim Angel CBE, Chairman of Angels, said:

"I was very impressed at the speed at which Arbuthnot Commercial ABL responded, the depth of interest they took in our business, the early involvement of the credit team, the way in which they grasped what we were looking to achieve and the unique nature of our costume collection. With the key decision-makers at the meeting, we were able to have a proper conversation and received an offer straight away that would provide us with greater headroom than our previous facility. The experience made me feel how things used to be in banking, working with people that take the time to understand your business and build a strong relationship."

Angles Costumes werehouseAngels Costumes

Supportive funding throughout COVID

During the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we played a crucial role in supporting Angels, as Tim Angel explained:

"When the rain comes pouring down, the fear is that banks will take the umbrella away, but Arbuthnot has stood firmly by our side, shielding us from the storm. Their unwavering support and expertise and their swift action in structuring a CBILs loan to bridge the funding gap during the pandemic have been invaluable."

He added:

"When the sun wasn't shining and when we needed them most, Arbuthnot’s team was there for us. With Arbuthnot we have a fantastic working relationship, backed by the reassuring presence, strength and support we need to capitalise on opportunities. The business has emerged in a strong and profitable position, and we are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. We are confident that our partnership with Arbuthnot will continue to support us in driving our success in the years and generations to come."

Embracing new opportunities

Amidst a rapidly evolving entertainment industry, Angels Costumes has demonstrated its ability to innovate and seize new opportunities. The opening of five major television studios in the UK since the pandemic has provided a unique platform for Angels to showcase their exceptional costume designs. Productions like "Bridgerton" and "The Crown" have become runaway successes, with the costumes taking centre stage and capturing the imaginations of audiences worldwide.

The rising popularity of Halloween as a cultural phenomenon has also opened up exciting avenues for growth in the retail fancy dress hire sector. Angels has recognised this trend and positioned itself to cater to the increasing demand for high-quality costumes.

Angels Costumes showcase

A strong partnership for future success

Angels Costumes maintains a unique market position, outstanding legacy, and exciting future, providing certainty of funding for generations to come. With a firm grasp on the entertainment industry, Angels remains an innovative force, pushing boundaries in costume creation. Adaptability and commitment to excellence make Angels Costumes a pattern for success. As the curtain rises on their next act, their enduring legacy weaves the threads of imagination behind the scenes.

You can watch a video interview featuring Tim Angel and Andrew Rutherford on how the relationship evolved.

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Further reading

A client success story: Red7Marine

Our Client Success Series tells the stories of some of the unique and talented clients we have supported, how they got started, and how we helped them achieve their ambitions.


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