What’s happened? Crossdressing? Will Court start writing about periods next?.. Well, read on…
So have I gone bonkers? Have I decided to become a woman? Why am I writing about lingerie? Will normal service be resumed soon or can we expect more blogs about Tampax and the like, or even crossdressing?
Well here is the answer. This is part of the former projects series of blogs about old projects that will probably last until the end of 2022 at this rate.
Back in 2004, after Naytencourt was set up and bought SystemNet Data and merged its IT Ventures division into itself, I started looking for smaller businesses for Naytencourt to buy to improve its range and bottom line as part of Project Embraer, the overall buy, build and extend project for Naytencourt.
Tastefullingerie was snapped up in its original form in September 2004 for a rather good price. It was a small, slightly neglected online lingerie retailer. Shortly after the acquisition, I was having a chat with a good friend about the acquisition and future strategy for the business. Imogen has been a good and trustworthy friend of mine for more years than I care to remember and has a very senior and high-flying job in the banking industry in London.
She said to me over a few drinks that I had the potential to change the industry and make boatloads of cash to boot! She expounded thus: “Court, busy women have a hard time buying this stuff! You know what it is like. As soon as I try to look at a site that in an open plan office during a snatched lunch break, Dave bloody Jenkins from finance will broadcast the fact that I am buying underwear to the entire f*****g office!. I might even get a talking to from HR as well 🙁 Imagine how many female customers you could bag if you deprived Jenkins of his opportunities to get his jollies in the office in working at the expense of women.” Now Imogen had a point and she had a good point.
I noted her thoughts and the following week set about updating the products with more tasteful images and better descriptions. Even the most revealing of garments that are only supposed to be worn for a particular activity did not escape this rework. Garments were priced from £20 to £200. Tasteful Lingerie was born.
The relaunch happened in September and the business started on a sales high. What I had not banked on was the high number of male customers that we would get as well as the acclaim we received from female clientele. Imogen and her friends were both impressed with the products and range and delighted to spend quite a bit of money during busy lunchtimes! They and others like them were universal in their praise for the fact that I had pulled something this off. One thing I learned before and after that Christmas was that we only got returns from female customers. The reason? Male customers will not ask their partner their size or discreetly check and get embarrassed if the garment does not fit! In view of this, they prefer to bin the garment rather than send it back for the refund that would be gladly given! Returns, in general, even from female clientele were low and in general, the customers were happy with the products.
The only bad point of this business is that it only had two exceptionally busy trading periods every year. The run-up to Christmas and the run-up to Valentine’s day. During these two periods, we would make 80% of our profit. This was becoming a big business.
The business was owned by Naytencourt until 2009 when it was sold prior to the closure of Naytencourt. The credit crunch amongst other things was taking its toll and it was the right time to exit. The business is sadly no longer and the domain is still for sale after all this time.
My friend Imogen still remembers and still mentions Tasteful Lingerie from time to time when we speak. It was a good business and I was sad to see it go.
So that’s the short story. How Court Guinness got big in ladies’ lingerie! And, no I didn’t try of the products out personally and I haven’t become a crossdresser!