Do you like shopping? University of Manchester graduate Olivia Moore talks to Kat Slowe about her new venture, The Knicker Issue, as she single handedly seeks to revolutionize the method by which we purchase our lingerie.
Shopping can be a frustrating process. By the time you have fought through the crowds and ransacked multiple shops, you are usually left feeling utterly drained. And, the eventual garment can seem hardly worth the effort – much less the money – that it took to purchase.
Catalogues, while useful, are hardly inspiring and can often take what little excitement there is to be had out of the process. Quite frankly, shopping sprees just aren’t what they used to be. Yet, a solution is on hand.
University of Manchester Fashion & Textile graduate Olivia Moore has started a new business, called The Knicker Issue, which aims to make the most jaded shopper sit… back and relax whilst perusing their new item with glee.
The Knicker Issue delivers a ‘beautiful’ pair of knickers, interesting articles and a personalised touch to its subscribers every month. The company provides its customers with four different options, a one off purchase (£18), a three month subscription (£16), a six month subscription (£15) and a 12 month subscription (£14).
The product options differ between a ‘mix of styles’ and a ‘mix with no thongs’. Each customer gets the chance to tailor the subscription to their specific needs and wants during the order process. There is also an option to add in a personalised message with each delivery, in case the customers are buying their gift for someone else. A size/style chart makes it easier to choose the right option, and is designed to help any looking to make purchases for their respective others.
Moore decided to start the business after noticing an increasing number of different subscription services ‘popping up’ online. The ambitious graduate, who is passionate about fashion, decided that she wanted to see what she could do with the concept and, just like that, the idea for The Knicker Issue was born.
“Throughout university, I always assumed I would follow the usual path of interning and working my way up the career ladder of another company,” explains Moore. “And, although I always would have liked to run my own business, it never really seemed an option until I came up with the idea.
“I knew that sending out a piece of clothing once a month wouldn’t quite work… but with lingerie there is much more room for variety and surprise with each issue at an affordable price. I loved the idea of getting something pretty through the post once a month, that wasn’t too extravagant but could perk you up in the morning, rather than sifting through the usual monthly bills. To give the product that extra appeal, I chose to include a fashion or trends based article to enjoy with each issue too.”
Of course, deciding to start a business and actually doing it are two very different things. Moore had to find funding for the project – no easy task for someone just out of university. However, Moore was determined to not let this stop her and she finally managed to obtain investment from a very prestigious source.
“I eventually got referred to The Prince’s Trust,” she says, “who told me about their enterprise scheme which helps young entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground.
“I had to write a business plan that was looked over by various mentors from The Prince’s Trust, who then gave me tips on how to develop and improve it. This was then taken to a ‘panel’ who interviewed me and assessed the financial aspects of the business, and that was where it was finally decided whether or not I would get the funding.”
Moore’s business plan impressed the panel and she was given the money. All she had do next was find the product. An easy task, right? After scouring the internet – somewhat unsuccessfully – for brands, Moore decided that her best option would be to attend a trade show, which would not only enable her to see a great range of brands but, also, provide her with the chance to analyse the quality of the products.
“Moda has been really helpful for introducing brands to me that I was unaware of,” she says, “and The Lingerie Collective trade show in July was a great little treat for me to take a look at some of the brands I am hoping to use for my luxury range.”
The Knicker Issue currently stocks Affinitas Intimates, Parfait by Affinitas and Playful Promises lingerie, but additions are made to the selection regularly to ensure that none of the company’s subscribers receive the same pair of knickers twice.
Within the year, Moore also hopes to introduce both luxury and bridal ranges to the website. “We will still offering the same subscription service,” she says, “but with a bit of a twist, and a slightly higher price point. I have already been looking into a few brands for the luxury range that I am really excited about, so fingers crossed that will all go ahead. Eventually, I want the company to branch out even further and I have lots of little ideas brewing, but I have to wait and see how this one pans out first.”