Undercover friller - Theo Paphitis

DRAGON’S Den star and retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis talks to JESSICA FOGARTY about his brand new lingerie store ‘Boux Avenue’.

Theo personally opened the first six Boux Avenue stores throughout the UK, including Meadowhall shopping centre, cutting the ribbons and welcoming shoppers to the new stores...

Q  Did you see a gap in the market for a new lingerie brand?

A There are lots of lingerie brands out there and there are lots of lingerie stores—but we saw a gap in the market to provide absolutely fabulous lingerie, in a spectacular environment, that have got adorable price tags. And, I believe that if you want adorable price tags, you should get the service that goes with it, and that’s what Boux Avenue provides.

Q How does Boux Avenue compare to other lingerie brands?

A We are broad appealing, whether you buy the regular body products, a t-shirt bra, soft bra, work bra, or the more racy evening wear such as burlesque or vintage.

Lingerie is such a personal product and if you feel special when you're buying it, you will feel special when you’re wearing it.

If you buy lingerie along with a frozen chicken or cooked meats—trust me, when you get it home and it makes it into your lingerie draw, it’s going to feel like cooked meat—you want to make sure that when you buy it, you have that special experience.

Q Where did the name Boux Avenue come from?

A Boux Avenue is a name that we toyed around with for a long time. ‘Boux’ was the name of a young French girl I once met on holiday in Monaco a long time ago and I thought it was a beautiful name—it’s stuck with me ever since, so I thought this was my opportunity to put it to use.

Q Who is your target audience?

A All women, irrespective of age—It’s for women who want to feel special.

Q Fashion is constantly moving in new directions—does lingerie follow the same trend?

A It has to—there is no other store like Boux Avenue, we have products in drawers and we sell from drawers—it’s something new and exciting.

A lot of stores have cut back on staff following the recession, but we have a strong team of staff offering professional fitting and customer service.

Q You have opened six stores in the UK, are you planning to expand further?

A Yes, I have opened stores in Sheffield, Manchester, Glasgow, Kent, Cardiff and Essex so far, but we will be opening a total of 30 stores.

Q On your website, you have a blog from ‘Miss B’—who is this lady?

A Miss B is a very special lady—she is the font of all knowledge—fashion and sensuality.

Miss B produces our online blog, she is the mysterious Miss B, I will never reveal her name, she will remain unknown.

Check out Boux Avenue and Miss B’s blog at www.bouxavenue.com

“Boux Avenue offers an amazing lingerie and nightwear shopping experience for women who are looking for something truly special. Our research tells us that this is what women want and will now have, both online and in retail stores nation-wide.

“Boux Avenue will provide outstanding service and a superior fit that will be unrivalled in its approach. I can guarantee the show will be spectacular!”

Theo Paphitis, Boux Avenue owner

The life of Theo Paphitis

Theo was born in Limassol, Cyprus in 1959.

His father and grandparents worked for British bases in Cyprus, enabling them to emigrate to England as a family when Theo was six years old.

Theo started his career at the age of 16 as a tea boy/filing clerk with Lloyds of London insurance brokers before making his first foray into retail at the age of 18.

At the age of 20, he moved into finance—property and corporate, specialising in turnarounds, setting up his own company at the age of 23.

In the following years he purchased and turned around ailing companies like Movie Media Sports, Ryman the Stationer, Contessa and La Senza lingerie chains, and Partners the Stationer.

He has turned these companies into successful, solid and profitable retail businesses.

Theo now lives in Surrey with his wife and youngest children—Theo and ‘Mrs P’ have five children and three grandchildren.

His most recent significant acquisition is the experience company, Red Letter Days, which he jointly owns with Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones.

Theo’s appearance as a Dragon on the successful BBC Two TV series, Dragon’s Den, helped to raise his profile with UK audiences.

Theo’s latest project is BBC show ‘The next big thing?’—the retail expert gives unknown designers and producers the opportunity of a lifetime—to pitch directly to some of the UK’s most prestigious stores in a bid to supply them with the next best-selling product, and of course, the launch of new lingerie brand ‘Boux Avenue’.


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