Michael Welch OBE

Industry expert

 Michael Welch

Michael Welch OBE

Atterley , Founder and chairman

British entrepreneur Michael Welch is founder and chairman of Atterley, the premium fashion ecommerce marketplace that supports and celebrates independent boutiques globally. Motivated to give reach, visibility and voice to the smaller fashion retailers, Welch has built a platform that connects more than 350 independent retailers across 25 countries, all while offering a personal, boutique-style retail experience. The support the platform offers the local retailer in a post-pandemic, digital-first world is now more crucial than ever.

Born in Liverpool, Welch left school at the age of 16 and began working as a tyre fitter but quit after just weeks to set up his own tyre retail business, MW Motorforce. Supported by The Prince’s Trust, and fuelled by ambition and hard work, two years later he was headhunted by car servicing and repair chain Kwik Fit and moved to Edinburgh.

Disillusioned by the potential career trajectory, he left after two years later to start another business, Blackcircles.com. A hugely significant player in the tyre industry with annual sales of more than £100m, it had a mission to bring together independent garages – a model he went on to replicate at Atterley. Welch sold the business to Michelin in 2015. He then went on to launch tyre price comparison website Tirescanner.com. He masterminded a merger with tyre distributor ATD, creating the largest network of tyre installers in the US.

Welch is the founder of The Welch Trust – a charitable foundation that provides grants to support children and young people in need of adoption and fostering or with critical or terminal illnesses. He is also a passionate advocate for The Prince’s Trust and works to share knowledge and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Welch was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to business and charity and was also honoured with a doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University in the same year. He believes in supporting and championing people, the hallmark across career to date.

Welch now divides his time between the UK and US with his wife and daughter. On his rare days off, he can be found spending time with his family, in the boxing gym or supporting his other love, Liverpool Football Club.

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