Caprice Bourret, a very hands-on owner, puts the success of her brand down to fit, detailing and price points.
According to lingerie entrepreneur and model Caprice Bourret, sales of her By Caprice Lingerie line have just “gone crazy”.
“Sales are up 126% season-on-season,” she says, before reeling off a whole list of other impressive statistics about growth with her key retailers, which include Debenhams, Asos, Figleaves, Next’s Brand Directory, Littlewoods and about 15 independent department stores.
It is something of a relief to Bourret that sales are crazy, since crazy is what she thought she was immediately after dissolving her exclusive licence deal with Debenhams in 2003, having been part of the Designers at Debenhams initiative.
“I didn’t understand margins or fit and I wasn’t putting my own money into it,” she says of the licence arrangement. Instead of picking up her royalty cheque every six months, she wanted to take control of her own destiny and her own brand.
Bourret decided in 2006 to relaunch the brand with her own funds. Debenhams remains a key retailer and only multiple department store to stock the range.
“Nobody has the passion you do when you’re using your own money,” she explains of her decision to go it alone. “It’s all my own cash and, when you do that, it’s a different kind of inspiration and a different kind of passion.”
The result is a candy-coloured array of lingerie and swimwear with upbeat names such as Can Can and Disco that have impressed UK bra buyers; about two million women are estimated to purchase By Caprice Lingerie each year. Bourret attributes this success to the fit, detailing and price points.
Bras are available in cup sizes from 32AA to 38DD, with some styles available in up to an F cup from the autumn.
Retail prices are approximately £15 for a bra and £11 for briefs (wholesale prices vary, depending on the retailer), which places By Caprice Lingerie alongside brands such as Ultimo and Wonderbra. “It’s successful, because I’ve got a good product for my price point,” says Bourret. “I will take a hit on my margins to produce a better product.”
Bourret visits lingerie fairs to source fabrics and accessories as well as manning her own stand at the Harrogate Lingerie and Swimwear Exhibition.
It is fair to describe Bourret as a very hands-on brand owner. “I go to the warehouse myself and pick and pack the orders. Why? Because I need to understand who’s ordering what,” she says.
The latest venture for Bourret is swimwear, which was launched in spring 08 and which continues the theme of bright colours with an emphasis on fits and, this autumn, she will launch a range of clothing with Littlewoods called By Caprice Glamour.
But you sense it is the lingerie that excites her most. “I just love what I do and I just love making lingerie,” she explains.
By Caprice Lingerie 020 7575 3133 www.bycapricelingerie.com
2 million: The number of women in the UK who purchase By Caprice every year
6: Number of product drops per year
£15: Retail price for a By Caprice bra
15: Number of independent department stores that stock the range