Maja Pawinska Sims 19 Jul 2018 // 11:01PM GMT
LONDON — Creative consumer PR agency Tin Man is now fully independent, after founder Mandy Sharp completed a “significant share buy-back” from Unity, which helped her set up the company five years ago.
Unity founders Gerry Hopkinson and Nik Govier — who quit the firm at the end of last year — backed Tin Man’s launch in November 2013 as minority shareholders. Sharp, a former head of Citizen Relations, had worked with Hopkinson and Govier when all three were at Band & Brown.
Sharp, who now owns 100% of the shares in Tin Man, told the Holmes Report that it felt “exciting and liberating” to be independent, following talks which started last summer: “Fortunately, the success of the agency has meant we were in a position to enable the buy-back to happen early on in our growth and I’m very proud of that.
“We’ve always been an ambitious team with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, so we have lots of exciting plans for the agency. Our independence has just added more vigour and energy to our already punchy team. We are super excited about what the future holds for us.”
Regarding the timing of the deal, Sharp said: “It wasn’t something I had pre-planned when I started Tin Man but it felt like the right time. We’d got to the stage where we needed the freedom and space to grow in the way we wanted, and the other shareholders understood that.”
Govier said: "The idea of Tin Man was born from a lunch on our respective maternity leaves – babes in arms – and after years of friendship. But when Mandy approached me about selling it made a lot of sense. She’s made a real success of the business and was able to offer a fantastic return on my investment. And I also respected her desire for complete control of a business she’s grown from nothing into something we’re all so proud of."
Tin Man has been based in Unity’s offices since its inception, but will be moving into bigger offices in London’s Clerkenwell shortly.
There are no other structural changes as a result of the deal, although Sharp said she plans to grow the agency's in-house creative design and content production team, led by creative director Paul Valentine, who joined at the start of the year. Also on the senior team are head of client services Natalie Neave and planning and strategy lead Elly Kestenbaum (all pictured).
Revenue at the 22-strong agency has grown by 95% in the past three years, with client wins in the past 12 months including Trainline, Talk Talk, Plenty of Fish, Roald Dahl Story Company, Farmdrop and a major bank. Tin Man is also building a spirits specialism, including Cotswolds Gin and growing its whisky portfolio with Inver House Distillers from small single malt brand anCnoc to its biggest brands, Speyburn and Old Pulteney.