As Playboy opens its first European store on London’s Oxford Street, chairman and chief executive Christie Hefner tells Ana Santi why she’s one happy bunny
The Playboy Mansion was rocking. The champagne flowed freely, the music was pumping and the bunny tails were pinned firmly in place.
But far from the glitz of Los Angeles, the location was, in fact, the launch party of Playboy’s new store on London’s Oxford Street. The store, which is the company’s first in Europe, opened last month. But with an exclusive guest list comprising friends and family of the Hefners (the legendary Hugh founded the company in 1953), it came pretty close to the real deal.
Drapers caught up with chief executive and chairman Christie Hefner, Hugh’s daughter, the following day. “It was the success of the Playboy brand in prestigious stores such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Harrods that led me to open a standalone store in London,” she explains. “With an annual growth of 25% across consumer products in the UK, I knew there was a strong demand in this country from young men and women for Playboy merchandise.”
Sales of Playboy’s international consumer products, which include clothing, accessories, footwear, cosmetics and homewares, stood at US$800 million (£391m) in 2006, accounting for 70% of Playboy Enterprises’ total sales under licence. “Even though wholesale has been great for us, a store allows us to pull together our entire collection and launch new categories,” Hefner adds.