The Lovehoney group, which is currently one of the leading companies in the world for erotic accessories and lingerie, was founded in 2002 by former IT journalist Richard Longhurst and his web developer friend Neal Slateford.
The pair started the business after realising that there was a massive gap in the market for a technically strong website, selling good quality products and offering proper customer service.
Ten years down the road and Lovehoney has gone from a two man project, operated out of Longhurst’s bedroom, to a multi-million pound international business.
The Bath-based company was traditionally renowned for selling sex toys, but it identified that sexy lingerie was an area for potential growth two years ago.
Lingerie now makes up between 20% and 25% of Lovehoney’s total revenue, and is the fastest growing category in the business, with sales sky rocketing 525% to £2.9 million in the 12 months to March 2016.
Longhurst and Slateford are also leading a profitable company – the group reported a 68% rise in pre-tax profits to £5.1 million in the same period and a global turnover of £58 million, a 29% increase on 2015.
Lovehoney’s resources have recently been directed towards expansion into new international markets, which has included the roll-out of international websites.
In April 2016, Lovehoney received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for boosting international sales.
The launch of Lovehoney’s Fifty Shades of Grey merchandise also boosted sales in 2016.
Address: 100 Locksbrook Road, Bath, BA1 3EN
Focus: Online retail
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