INTERVIEW: Theo Paphitis – Boux Avenue has “come of age”

In the last month, Boux Avenue has taken a new creative direction with the launch of a new campaign that moves away from its usual playful, humorous style and promises to empower and inspire a customer base that is growing in confidence. CEO Theo Paphitis explains the inspirations behind the campaign and unveils plans for growth, including the launch of Boux Avenue’s first dedicated warehouse, which will open in line with international demand.

What are the inspirations behind your SS17 #impressyourself campaign?

Our inspirations are our customers. Boux has grown in the last five years from nothing to where it is today and it’s still growing at an incredible rate because we listen to our customers. Our customers have become more confident and empowered to do their own thing and ‘impress themselves’ basically. Lingerie has become an integral part of their wardrobe, but they want it to be comfortable, they want it on trend and they want it to be affordable. In the last year, more customers have told us what they like about our products, and that has given us the impression they are very confident people, buying their lingerie not for their man, but for themselves because it makes them feel good and it fits well. If their man likes it then that’s great, but if he doesn’t, so what? That’s really been the feedback we’ve been getting and our products are very much geared to that.

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What do you hope to achieve from the new campaign?

We want to continue to grow our customer base, give our customers what they want and empower them to wear what they want to wear, when they want to wear it and how they want to wear it.

The new campaign is designed to inspire customers through dance.

The new campaign is designed to inspire customers through dance.

Do you have imminent plans to open new shops?

We’ve got 28 stores now and we have signed leases for a couple more, the locations for which we can’t announce yet. We always said that we are an internet business and our stores are our showrooms, which allow people to understand the product and what Boux stands for. We might get to 35 when we open stores in the places that we want, but our customers very clearly tell us that they love the fact that we’ve got stores, but they also love the fact that we are an online business. They want to interact with us when it suits them, how it suits them. They want to come into stores, feel the fabric and enjoy the experience, but they also want to sit on their sofa watching TV, double screening, going through what’s come in, ordering it and picking it up from store or having it delivered. It’s all about them. We just want to make sure that we give them what they want. If we do that then our customers will remain loyal and we will have a thriving business.

You recently launched a new website. How have customers responded to this?

We changed our website at the beginning of February quite comfortably – all went according to plan and it’s been a great success. As I said, we launched as an online business and our original platform was robust, but with the fabulous growth that we’ve had it really started creaking at the seams, so we had to not only go to the next stage in terms of where our platform is concerned but two weeks ago we broke ground on a brand new purpose-built 90,000ft2 warehouse, which will be delivered in September and will be fully operational before Christmas.

Boux Avenue launched a new website in February.

Boux Avenue launched a new website in February.

Where is the new warehouse based?

It’s in Crewe. We bought land next door to Ryman and broke ground two weeks ago. The brand has come of age. It originally operated from Ryman’s warehouse and now it has its own warehouse – it’s like a child that’s moved away from home. We’ve also launched our international website and we are very confident that a lot of growth now will come from international.

International, for us, has shown huge growth, delivering all around the world, not just in Europe, but the USA, Australia, New Zealand. You name it, we are doing business there, and hence why we had to build a new warehouse.

Do you plan to expand the wholesale side of your business this year?

Wholesale was another experiment for us that proved to be hugely successful. It is not something that was in the original business plan, but we thought we’d test it and it really has gone well. We are with Very, Lipsy, ASOS and we will announce some new partners very soon. So the answer to your question is yes.

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