Barber plans European push after Northstar deal

A South Yorkshire tattoo supplies business is seeking further expansion in Europe after its acquisition of a company in France.

Barber of Sheffield has bought Northstar Tattoo Supply in Montpellier and is now on the look out for  more deals in Italy, Germany and Holland. Northstar supplies about 1,500 tattoo parlours throughout France and Belgium.

Northstar founder Amandine Valette will remain with the business for a short period to assist with the transition. All sales staff will continue to work in France although distribution will be handled from the UK.

Barber’s expansion follows an investment from venture capitalist Enterprise Ventures and PHD Equity Partners in May.

Tony Crane, who founded Barber in 1991, said: “We have been planning for some time to move into Europe. This first acquisition gives us access to the French market which is a similar size to the UK.

“Northstar is established and well respected in France – what we can bring to the table is the breadth of our product range. We are keen to expand further and are on the look-out for other suitable companies in Italy, Germany and Holland in particular.”

Barber was initially established to sell stainless steel needles and blades to vets, but it is body art products that now account for the bulk of its turnover. It supplies tattoo studios with equipment for piercings and tattoos and has its own brands including Black Widow.

Wayne Thomas, investment director at EV, said: “Barber is a successful home-grown business that has been increasing its turnover every year. The investment earlier this year has allowed it to step up a level, by giving it access to funding for acquisitions and allowing it to tap into the expertise of its equity investors.”