Acquisition of Barber of Sheffield by PHD Equity Partners

Category: Wholesale of Medical Equipment

Total Investment: £4.4M


Barber of Sheffield, a medical supplies business which is now one of the UK’s largest suppliers of tattoo equipment and consumables has secured a multi-million investment to expand its operations. Venture capital provider EV has invested alongside PHD Equity Partners. The deal will allow the owners, husband and wife team Tony and Stephanie Crane, to realise part of their investment in the business and will also provide funding for growth lead by the Cranes.

Based in Chapeltown, Sheffield, Barber was set up by Tony Crane in 1991 to sell stainless steel needles, blades and other medical consumables to the veterinary industry.  The company continues to supply veterinary wholesalers and also provides autopsy products for hospitals, mortuaries and emergency services.

However it is body art products that now accounts for the bulk of its turnover. Barber supplies tattoo studios in the UK and beyond with equipment for piercings and tattoos. It has developed its own brands including Black Widow needles and gloves, Chameleon piercing aftercare products, and a range of sterile inks and needles which it sells alongside other manufacturers’ brands.

Barber mainly sells via its catalogue though it is developing its online presence and also its export trade, with sales growing rapidly in Europe and the USA.

Tony and Stephanie Crane of Barber said “this is a great opportunity for the business to move onto the next level. The business has grown rapidly of the last few years and we felt this was an opportune moment to seek partners to allow us to make the most of the growth potential particularly in overseas markets. Working with equity investors also allows us to tap into their knowledge and contact base which will enable us to have the skill set needed to grow at the pace we would like.

Wayne Thomas of EV said: “Barber has increased its turnover every year for the past ten years and still has plenty of opportunities for further growth. The company has the potential to become one of Europe’s leading specialist distributors of needles, blades and medical consumables. This investment will provide the funding required to allow the management team to pursue this goal.”

Andy Dodd of PHD said “As a market leader in the Tattoo consumables and medical equipment industry, Barber is an exciting investment for PHD Equity Partners. Barber’s core Tattoo market is rapidly growing and our investment and involvement will help it take advantage of this.

Barber has developed an impressive customer base, originally through its catalogues and more recently through its transactional websites. We see a huge opportunity for Barber to develop its online presence and become a multi-channel supplier into both the domestic and international markets.”