Case Study



Vashi had been one of the fastest growing brands in the UK when in April 2023, a winding-up order forced Diamond Manufacturers Limited, trading as Vashi, into insolvency. The diamond manufacturer and retailer, which specialised in fine bespoke jewellery, had opened high-end boutique stores across London including the flagship store in Covent Garden, with further store openings planned for New York.

The insolvency left behind the contents of 5 retail outlets, a high-profile London West End office and a modern jewellery manufacturing facility.


The vast majority of the contents of the premises were owned by the equipment lessors, who having funded the business less than 2-years ago, were left with a material shortfall. The insolvency also left them with significant challenges in asset identification, rent arrear issues and asset realisation.

Within a few weeks, Hickman Shearer had control of the assets and agreed a collective strategy with all stakeholders to sell them.

A quick response, sharing of information and efficient communications led to an insolvency case.


Hickman Shearer worked closely with the various teams involved to rapidly achieve an online auction with a 97% sell through rate.

As Tim Chapman, Managing Director of Hickman Shearer said:
“The position of a lessor in an insolvency can be a mixed experience as they often struggle to either obtain payment for the ongoing use of their asset or to repossess it to realise the debt. Lack of access and poor communication with the insolvency practitioner is often common, leading to a frustratingly fraught journey and a sub-optimal outcome for the lessor.”

He continued: “However, given a clear and pragmatic strategy, the opportunity of an improved outcome exists. Here’s a good case study illustrating how Hickman Shearer gained control and maximised the outcome for lessors.”

The Hickman Shearer strategy was effective because it involved moving quickly, while working close with all the relevant stakeholders. The resultant common strategy ensured information was frequently shared, giving Hickman Shearer the opportunity to apply their knowledge and experience in dealing with distress and insolvency.

The result of which was that the strategy maximised the financial outcome by:

  • Acting for all main lessors
  • Quickly identifying the assets and proving title
  • Effectively communicating with landlords and agreeing favourable terms to access and sell the leased and abandoned company assets
  • Negotiating sales to interested parties at relevant retail outlets of specialist fixtures and fittings
  • Delivering a successful on-line auction sale of 300 lots of the photography equipment, contemporary furniture, manufacturing equipment and office contents.

This culminated in maximum realisation for the lessor, as the lessor led the process while the sale was managed by an auctioneer with complete focus on the lessor.

To illustrate, these Auction headline statistics illustrate the success of adopting this approach:

  • Hickman Shearer direct mailing over 40% open rate
  • 9 global editorial pieces from PR
  • Strong B2C social media campaign
  • 335 registrants for the sale
  • 97% sell through rate

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