Today, co-Founder of Glass Fields, the UK-based African fashion brand that hit $5 million in sales in 2018, has hit the internet with claims that investors have taken over Grass Fields in what is being described as a hostile takeover. Christelle Nganhou, makes claims that her investors have locked them out of personal email addresses, and more.
She took to TikTok with the release of a video asking for anyone in the Black community to help spread the word that Grass Fields, was no longer owned and operated by the two African sister duo who started the fashion brand.
The second video, was in response to a concerned TikToker asking for more information on what happened, where she detailed how the company was taken from them in less than two weeks. The investors updated on Glass Field.
Today, the About Grass Fields pages have since been deleted and lead to a 404 Page, which formally featured a photo of both sisters and read, Founded by Christelle and Michelle Nganhou, twin sisters from Cameroon, Grass-fields was created with a simple aim to create clothing that makes you feel super confident.
The Grass Field official instagram account comments have also been turned off and an post urging customers to go to the blog to see the full company statement, which we provide later in the article, no further lifestyle shots have been shared in the days since the TikTok videos began circulating.
Back in February 2022, Glass-Fields was supposedly to be closing down, due to Michelle, one of the co-Founding sisters was struggling with a serious illness. It is still unknown what medical or health issues Michelle has been dealing with, or if the shutdown was temporary or permanent.
February 2022 Archive
“We are closing.
It is with immense sadness and pain we are closing Grass-fields . For the past 3 years, my twin sister Michele has been silently battling a lengthy illness and we’ve have finally reached a breaking point. The countless surgeries and brutal medication may not have been enough to give my sister her life back. I am now facing the harsh possibility that my twin, my soulmate, the person whom I have battled through this life with, may not have much longer left here. My heart breaks for not just myself but for her children who might not get to spend any more birthdays or Christmases with their mother, and a husband that may have to say goodbye to his wife.
We have both fought for so long but can no longer juggle the stresses of running a business with the uncertainty of Michele’s health and everything in between. I really don’t know where we go from here and I am unsure of the future of Grass-fields, but it’s clear that we need to step away and take a break to work out how we can navigate this undetermined time.
Michele and I thank you for the support over the last 9 years. I hope that you can hold my sister and I in your prayers tonight. Thank you for everything. ”
– Christelle Nganhou
Grass-Fields.com investors have released a statement on the official blog today stating that Christelle Nganhou and her sister were misappropriating funds, negligent in running the business, amongst other things listed in the public statement. The investor statement can be read below, or see the statement A Company Update here.
Dear Customers and Friends,
We hope you are keeping well.
It is with huge regret and sadness that we have been driven to write to you after a number of defamatory and malicious statements were published on social media about Grass-Fields. In light of this, it is important that we bring certain matters to your attention that you may not be aware of, and we have reported the matter to the police.
Why we have had to act.
In September 2022, the current management team saved Grass-Fields from extinction by buying it out of administration after its co-founders and sisters, Christelle and Michele Nganhou, ran the business into the ground.
The company owed suppliers, staff and customers over £2.2million despite the sisters making even more than that in revenue, resulting in huge personal gains to them.
This of course had a huge effect on you, our customers, some of whom didn’t receive the products they ordered and didn’t receive refunds, and staff, who weren’t paid for months.
The new management has spent the last few months trying to clean up this mess, and we’re proud to say we’re making progress in fixing the issues that some of you may have faced.
We’re also proud to be investing in local manufacturing in Nigeria where some manufacturers had refused to work with the company under the sisters’ management, due to not being paid.
Noting that Christelle and Michele have been sharing significant misinformation already, we are driven to set the record straight with you.
The current situation.
We have been made aware of defamatory and malicious statements being made about Grass-Fields by Christelle and Michele, and some of the models who have worked for them.
Additionally, information has come to light recently which leads us to believe that Christelle and Michele:
- Had been diverting funds owed to Grass-Fields for their own benefit;
- Failed to pay their team, suppliers and lenders;
- Continued to charge customers for products that they had no intention of despatching, whilst ignoring refund requests; and
- Spent a large portion of the company’s funds in a personal capacity which ultimately led to the company becoming insolvent.
We are in the process of preparing to issue an application at the High Court for an injunction to immediately restrain the founders’ further unlawful activity, in order to protect the business and its customers.
Some of the above behaviour amounts to criminal conduct in the UK and unfortunately we have had to pass the information to the police and are cooperating fully with investigations.
What you should know.
The new management team purchased the business out of administration. Christelle and Michele were given the opportunity to contribute to the business. The hope was that we could work together to rebuild the business. With this hope in mind, both Christelle and Michele were rehired.
In light of the above misconduct coming to light, we were left with no choice but to dismiss Christelle and Michele from their roles with Grass-Fields last week. This was an extremely difficult decision to make given the relationship you, our customers, supporters, and friends, have built with Christelle and Michele.
Since their departure, due to the unfortunate suspected criminal conduct, Christelle and Michele have improperly obtained and refused to return access or ownership to Grass-Fields’ TikTok/ Pinterest & Afrikrea Accounts.
They have threatened to use these social media accounts to spread further defamatory and malicious statements unless certain unreasonable demands (including financial demands) are met. The new management team will not be engaging with these improper and unlawful demands.
We should say that since Grass-Field’s new management team rescued the brand out of insolvency, we have:
- Rehired staff who previously lost their jobs;
- Increased the workforce by 40%;
- Invested in new infrastructure (including a new warehouse and manufacturing partners in the UK and Africa);
- Honoured all historical refunds and returns, and are currently proactively working on those that are outstanding.
Should you have any questions or concerns arising out of this communication then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our very best to get back to you promptly.
The entire team is determined to rebuild Grass-Fields, and continue to provide high-quality and ethically made products to our valued customers across the world. The new management is dedicated to earning your support and trust through great customer support and unrivalled fashion.
Thank you once again for your continued support and loyalty.
No response has been made yet by Christelle or Michele Nganhou to the company letter published today on Grass fields, however, Christelle has put another TikTok video that shows a blank word document, with the caption, “My reply is coming soon.”
Jeanel has 15 years of retail, marketing and brand management experience. She has started an ecommerce business in 2019, after working in corporate retail and real estate as a senior managing director and former consultant. She's traveled all over the world, speaks at world renowned trade shows and events, holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce (B.Comm) and a Certificate in Commercial Real Estate. You can connect with her on Linkedin.