“I learned the hard way that, in business, you have to do everything yourself. No one else will ever care like you because it’s not their money,” says Caprice
When Caprice Bourret first launched By Caprice, she had no business background, no mentors and no financial advice. “I was just a model!” she says. But she quickly learned that when it’s your hard-earned cash on the line, you have to be in control of every part of your business.
“There was this terrible time when I let my people do the packaging for a product block,” she explains. “They put hangers on hundreds of thousands of garments that didn’t need hanging. And that wasn’t the worst of it: it cost me 45 cents per garment to have them taken off again. It was a disaster.”
This is when Caprice realised that she needed to be involved at every level in her business. “I was the marketing,” she says. “Being a celebrity came in really handy. I got thousands of pounds worth of press for free. But pretty soon, I found myself doing everything. Even when I brought in people to help me out, I had to train them myself to do things my way. I trained my bookkeeper, my PA, marketing director…”
Caprice learned everything on the job. There was no MBA, no business brain waiting in the wings if she made a mistake. “I’m a control freak,” she says. “Even though I have an amazing team, no one will look at everything as much as me. When I’m losing money, I care and I learn.”
But being a “control freak” has paid off. By Caprice currently has a turnover of £4m, and has withstood one of the worst financial periods for a generation. “Most celebrity products don’t last,” says Caprice. “Kylie lasted a year. Jordan, a year. And here I am four years later, still expanding.”
Caprice Bourret is an Ambassador for Enterprise UK, the national campaign to give people in the UK the confidence, skills and ambition to be enterprising – to have ideas and make them happen.
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