The sale was not publicized at the time and who the new owner is will not be announced. A confidentiality obligation has been agreed with the buyer on this, says Kahn. “Sapph never gave us money for a day,” he recalls. “We thought in our arrogance that we could do that too, but that turned out not to be the case at all.”
Kahn blames the disappointing Sapph adventure partly on the difficulty of finding good management in the Netherlands. That is different in the United States, he says. “There you will find people who are willing to take eight days of vacation a year and who work sixty, seventy hours a week. And that is also compensated accordingly. ” In the Netherlands, according to him, you don’t have to pay directors a lot, but they are often managers. “And managing means maintaining. In general, they are not entrepreneurs who really help a company move forward. ”
In addition to failing management, Kahn blames himself for not being able to transfer his culture and philosophy well. “That turned out to be much more difficult than I thought.”
Kahn acquired Sapph from Rob Heilbron in 2011. He later said that he made the purchase out of ‘pure horniness’ and that he found a ‘cesspool’ at the brand. Cool Investments now include the chains MS Mode and America Today, the webshops Coolcat and V&D and various retail properties. On January 1, he hands over the management of the company to his two sons.
Listen here to the entire podcast in which Kahn talks extensively about his retail career.