July 2015
July 2018


Tilley Endurables was founded in Canada in 1980 with the simple mission of creating the world’s best sailing hat. Building on its initial success with the sailing fraternity, the business continued to develop innovative products with an uncompromising focus on quality and customer service, establishing Tilley as the premium hat brand of choice for lovers of travel, adventure and the outdoors, the world over.

In 2015, founder Alex Tilley, then aged 77 and a well known Canadian entrepreneur, announced his intention to retire and find a suitable buyer that “would like to run the business in a similar manner and uphold all our guarantees.”

Our Role

  • Acquired the company in July 2015
  • Conducted detailed strategic review of the business
  • Recruited sector-experienced CEO to replace Alex Tilley
  • Engaged Alex Tilley on a part time consultancy basis for an initial period
  • Deployed Hilco’s specialist operational restructuring and process improvement resources
  • Worked with management team to develop and implement 90 day performance improvement and cost reduction plan
  • Implemented continuous improvement processes and measures across the business
  • Increased investment in marketing and PR


  • Smooth transition of the business from its founder to new management within six months
  • Over $1m operational cost reductions achieved within the first 12 months
  • Hat factory production increased by 33% within three months of plan implementation
  • Productivity per employee increased by over 48% through just $8k capex on custom hat steaming equipment
  • Brand equity enhanced through high profile support of Canada 150 celebrations and Invictus Games
  • Awarded ‘Iconic Canadian Brand’ status by Interbrand
  • Onward sale to a Canadian investment firm completed in July 2018

Andrew Prendergast, CEO, Tilley

" Hilco’s team were engaged and collaborative partners throughout their period of ownership and their strong commitment to upholding Tilley’s brand values was instrumental in facilitating success after our founder’s retirement.

Hilco Capital’s strategic insights and process improvement expertise were invaluable in helping Tilley improve the efficiency of its manufacturing operations in Canada and recapturing its thought leadership position in a hyper-competitive global active lifestyle market."

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