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.