Caprice Bourret interviewed by Bradley Chapman
Caprice Bourett interviewed by Bradley Chapman
Caprice’s business now produces Lingerie, Swimwear, Bedding and Sleep wear as well an Ab Fab range of Glam and exciting ladieswear range. The business is booming and going from strength to strength and Caprice isn’t doing to bad either.
Interviewing Caprice for a second time has been a really interesting opportunity for me and a chance for our readers to see how her business has changed and more importantly how her views on being in business has changed and how adversity has brought positive changed to her life.
I hooked up with Caprice once more in the West London Studios where her business is based, hit the leather couch in the foyer, asked her a few questions and fell in love all over again.
Here is a recap on some of the questions I asked Caprice in my first interview with her:-
Where did you grow up?
I grew up with my mum in California. She was divorced, independent and a successful entrepreneur running her business called Bourret Interiors. She is a powerhouse, dynamic and energetic and I wanted to be like her. I moved to the UK in 1996 but we still talk about 5 times every day discussing everything from my dramas to business.
What was it like being a high profile model?
I believe in fate and destiny and I guess it just happened to me. I moved to UK because Europe is the centre point for all the major magazines. Between 2000 and 2001 I was on just about every magazine cover and newspaper in Europe. I attended major shows and events and won prizes and was offered some amazing jobs. It was a very powerful time for me.
When did you decide to leave your modeling career and start your business?
As you know when I was 25 I gained some really great exposure from the Wonderbra campaign and my modeling career went into overdrive. I knew that I would not always be “Hot” and in my early thirties I started to think forward about my future. I can remember calling my mum and telling her that I wanted to move into the lingerie market and she said “Go for it”.
What was it like setting up in business and creating your first range?
I visited a factory in China and had my first set of samples produced and I presented to Debenhams who then tested the product in 10 stores. I had offered my range exclusively to them for the first season.
I have since supplied Littlewoods and Next and my range was their bestselling lingerie product in the first season. I did experience some initial problems, one being currency. I was buying in dollars and buy the time the range had landed the dollar had move from $2 to the pound down to $1.37 and it costing me a lot of money. I buy forward currency now but the currency fluctuation nearly costs me my business.
My second range had fitting problems, the colours, styles and collection was just not right, subsequently Debenhams cancelled their order. I soon realised that for any business to be successful you have be involved in every stage of the design, production and marketing process after all nobody has the same inspiration as you. You have to stay on the ball and make it happen.
What has been the toughest business decision that you have had to make?
Probably letting go of people that were not right for the business – it’s awful!
What have your emotions been like since you started your business?
An absolute roller coaster and I have experienced the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. I went from a high profile international model to an unknown entrepreneur and my ego suffered in the process but I knew that if I did not make the transition then I would just fade into normality.
How do you feel now?
I meditate once or twice a day or at night and this has brought clarity to my life. Meditating helps you find stillness in your mind. I used to be a control freak and now I can make decisions without fear, hesitation or doubt. I accept everything and I am open to everything.
The bizarre thing is as soon as I controlled my mind positive things have happened to me. I have expanded the business and now I supply Dorothy Perkins, Next, River Island and Lipsy have taken on my products as well.
You still look really good; do you watch what you eat?
No way man! I love my food especially Mexican food! Ah nachos filled with guacamole, beef, double cheese, sour cream yummy. I play tennis 3 times a week and I still like to exercise.
Is there anyone you would like to thank that has helped you on your journey?
All the people that have supported me believed in me and encouraged me to continue. I would like to send a special thanks to Littlewoods for giving me a chance.
Now that you have been brought up to speed with my first interview with Caprice here are the questions that I asked Caprice in my recent interview with her.
So what’s been happening in the last six month then Cap?
Well my diffusion range is now live, I’m in TK Maxx and we’re doing great business with Littlewoods. My bedding range is now in the top ten. You know it’s very difficult to get it into the top ten. The range is traditional but glitzy, manufactured at good quality with unbelievably affordable prices. We could have used cheaper embroidery and lace but we think it is important to give a little bit more to our customers and in return they will offer us loyalty.
Since we last spoke I have kept overheads as low as possible and I now buy my currencies forward to protect myself from the changes in the US Dollar rate and it’s been great coming back.
I feel that we are quite efficient at the moment and we are making money and it’s going to continue. I have learned some fantastic lessons on low numbers and I am looking forward to producing high volumes
Have you been working with anyone in particular to help you with the business?
Yes I have been taking lots of advice from a guy called Richard. He is the CEO of a company called Aurora and he has been instrumental in providing me with expansion support and finding equity partners. I am looking to raise £1 million pounds with equity partners to move the business forward.
What are you looking for in your Equity partners?
I am looking for flexible equity partners that are prepared to make an investment in the business and of course myself, but I want to retain control as well.
Where would like to export your products to next?
I am looking to move into the US market. As you know it is amazingly large country and we could really push some high volume numbers over there.
I will sort out our Diffusion range UK first, walking before I run. I need to master the UK market first, have a smooth operation running and a product that works and then go to the USA.
I will take advantage of hiring the best PR firm to help promote my name and my brand creating awareness and building credibility and then I’m just gonna go get em! I would also employ a full time rep that would present our products to buyers.
We have the warehouses and pick and pack distribution set up, it just needs scaling up. I never put a date on the launch but I am hoping to have products in the US some time in 2011.
How are your imports going?
I love it in China, they are on it over there and they have an overbearing eye on the ball. It’s quite amazing what you can achieve out there. There are some issues with workers at the moment as they are demanding more money, resulting in net costings going up.
How is your health, I heard that you were unwell?
I still visit the gym regularly and still mediate but yes a while ago I had Mercury poisoning and my body had started to shut down. I visited my Doctor John Hopkins in the US and he said I was in a mess. I had about 15 viles of blood taken, which showed that I had both Nickel and Mercury poisoning. I had to go on a drip three times a week but I still managed to deliver for the business through personal ill health.
Looking back how have you changed?
Well I haven’t quite made enough money to buy a G4 Gulfstream jet. I guess the main difference is that I used to have quite a high ego and looking back it is easy to see why I got myself into that state of mind. Travelling internationally and seeing my face appear on just about every fashion magazine over the world kind of makes you feel you’re special.
I used to spend a lot of time in the entertainment industry and there was little time for me, the other day I just walked my dogs for the freedom. My mind set has changed for the better. I am open to the universe and no longer fight my future, Instead I just let it happen and believe that the good things will come and if you do then life will bring it to you. I believe that I am a good person and I work hard and I have realised that half of the battle is in your head. Things happen in life for a reason and this all helps to make you a better person.
I am now working with good people who have a positive outlook on life and I’m much happier. Business is thriving, I have opened myself to a whole new world of opportunities and I am not fighting it, instead I am going with it.
So what do these changes in your attitude mean for you and your business?
I came out of it knowing how to run my business more efficiently and make better choices. I am more hands on than I used to be and I am really enjoying it.
In my personal life I am looking for that someone special. I have had a few superficial relationships and I want to be with somebody who makes me a better person, nurtures me and cares about me. I don’t care about their circumstances or their financials as I want to look after my man in the same way and I am starting to pick much better partners.
What do you think about today’s networking opportunities like Raw Business?
I wish I knew about the various business networking organisations on the market. When I started in business I knew very little about running a company. I have learned through mistakes and research. I guess it must be incredible to have a support network to guide and inspire you when you feel lost or confused. The amount of money that I could have saved from the mistakes that I’ve made – Oh my god!
Caprice, thank you so much for your time spent with me during the interview. I am so pleased to see the positive transition in both yourself and your business.
From sitting with you this time, I could really sense that you have found peace in your mind and like me have been through quite a major battle with the things that we used to call the “Gremlins Inside”.
I would like to wish you every success with your continued journey and I look forward to sharing a drink with you when you crack the USA..
Go for it Caprice – The World awaits you once more