You started on the catwalk and shot to fame after featuring on your first cover for Vogue in the 1990’s, do you think that your success in modelling has helped you as a business professional?
From a young age my modelling career gave me the opportunity to meet lots of different people and travel the world. I gained life skills and by the time I was 21 I made my first million. I subsequently used the money from the success in my modelling days to launch my business. Initially, I sold the idea to license my name to Debenhams and launch a range of lingerie products. Let me tell you, these were in the days when NO one was doing licensing deals – it was a huge risk for Debenhams but it paid off for them. After a period of time, I decided to buy back the license and launch By Caprice Products…
During your time as an international model, did you ever have ambitions of going into business? What were your dreams/ambitions at the time?
I have always treated my career as a business. I was very business savvy with how I approached everything. I would do deals with the photographers and we would split the copyright and monies earned for my photoshoots being featured and distributed in magazines all across the world. I used to work with a handful of trusted photographers. It was very lucrative!
What drove you to start your own company?
I am from a family of entrepreneurs, especially my mom – I admire her so much. She is an interior designer based in LA and I learned at great deal from her growing up. From having integrity to being fully hands on… I know every intrinsic part of my business.
Having your own business is not easy and there are lots of long days but I am so passionate about my products and I love securing those deals.
Business is certainly not slowing down anytime soon!
What are your goals and aspirations for your brand going forward? Do you have anything to announce over the next 12 months? What will these changes signify for the brand?
By Caprice Home has recently announced a huge partnership with world textile leaders Sadaqat. They are Victoria Secrets of the bedding world. This is a really exciting time for the brand as it puts us on a global platform. We are launching in a number of countries and strategically expanding the product range. For example, we have some exclusive home styles with Dunelm which are available nationwide. By Caprice Home is also now available in Bed, Bath and Beyond, which is super exciting.
For an expanding brand, there is a lot of back-end work underway to ensure we are able to cater to demand, fulfil our orders and keep our customers happy.
As a business leader, do you feel there are more challenges that you face as a woman
Absolutely – when I made my career change, of course, it was very difficult – primarily because of the stereotype. I had to prove I could sustain a successful business. In the early days, stockists would not take my brand because they thought it would be gone in under a year. I guess I proved them wrong.
How have these challenges evolved over your long career? What’s gotten easier? What’s gotten more difficult?
There are always challenges in business but do you know what, there’s no simple formula, it’s called tenacity. People have tried to knock me down 500 times and I will always get back up. It just makes me more hungry.
The huge amount of exposure you have enjoyed over the years must have helped build your profile as a business woman, or has this been a hinderance in any way?
I am fortune to have a platform where I can talk about my brand and issues that are important to me.
Do you have any advice for women in business or for young women who have aspirations of success in the future?
Unfortunately most young people today want to be reality stars. The instant fame and fortune they see from other young people participating in reality shows inspires them to want to be like their idols. I think having sudden fame and fortune is a dangerous game for young people and I always advise them to learn skills, do work experience to get a feel for a job / sector, mentor a professional and invest in higher education.
A long lasting career where you garner transferable skills is always the best move.