Oliver Bonas is well-known across the U.K., with its headquarters based in Chessington, South West London. The retail chain specialises in homeware and fashion and has 83 stores open nationwide. Boasting a workforce of 1,500 individuals, the extensive network of stores spans not only the U.K. but also extends to Ireland. Financially, the company reported excellent figures in the 2021 financial year, with revenues amounting to £92.8 million and pre-tax profits reaching £7.5 million, an even more impressive feat when considering this was during the pandemic.
These impressive milestones and figures may make you wonder how this all got started and who the man behind this retail giant is. That would be Oliver Tress, the man with a net worth of 12 million pounds. Tress, born in 1967, is well-educated. He attended Marlborough College, a boarding school in Wiltshire, and then later, he went to Durham University, where he studied anthropology.
1993 Tress started the first Oliver Bonas store on Fulham Road in London. He sold handbags and jewellery from Hong Kong, where his parents lived, and items he found at trade shows. Tress used £3,000 from his savings to set up the first store, with £1,500 going towards the rent. Interestingly, the store got its name Bonas from Tress’s then-girlfriend Anna, the cousin of Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend.
Tress has stated that he never really wanted a proper job and told the Daily Telegraph in 2016 That corporate life wasn’t for me. “I did one interview, and we [the interviewer and I] agreed within about a minute that I didn’t want the job. I thought that being in a corporation of any size was restrictive. To have limitless possibility, you have to do something on your own,”
Oliver Tress is also known to have ADHD. (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). This can be challenging for many people, so it’s impressive that he overcame his disorder and used it to his advantage to become the millionaire he is today.
Of course, when running a multimillion-pound company, barriers and adversity are things any businessman will encounter, but in 2011, another type of struggle came Oliver Tress’s way. During the London riots in 2011, he was severely beaten by looters outside one of his Oliver Bonas stores in Battersea and had to be treated in a hospital for head injuries. Tress, fortunately, was able to make a full recovery.
Marriage and Matt Hancock
In 2009, he married Gina Coladangelo; they met while Tress was studying PPE at Oxford University. Tress and Coladangelo went on to have three kids together. Coladangelo was a director and a significant stakeholder in the P.R. and lobbying firm Luther Pendragon. She also held the position of marketing and communications director at Oliver Bonas. Later, she became a non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care, assisting the then Secretary for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, and this is where things took a nasty turn.
In June 2021, Hancock was forced to resign after pictures emerged of him kissing and embracing Coladangelo in his Whitehall office, violating the COVID-19 social distancing rules that were in place at the time. It was later reported that Hancock and Coladangelo had separated from their spouses to be in a relationship.
Tress didn’t comment on the news publicly, but he was seen helping his former partner load her things into her car as she was leaving the family home. It said he knew very little about the affair, and sources near him said he would have been devastated.
Better Things To Come
It’s noted that Tress is a good man who treats his staff fairly and pays them a decent wage. A quote from The Standard reflects this:
“Tress likes to treat his staff well – and clearly it pays. In 2015, his company became the first U.K. high street chain to pay its staff a living wage 2015, which Tress said reflected “hard work, loyalty and the real cost of living”.
Despite some setbacks in his personal life, it’s clear that Oliver Tress is a businessman that the U.K. should value greatly. Let’s hope for more exciting things from him in the future.