Maybe you thought that you got to know Californian turned London-local Caprice Bourret on her Reality TV show Ladies of London, or while she graced 300+ magazine covers as a sought-after model, but until today you may not have gotten a really good look at her. This couture cover-girl turned business woman is more than just a pretty face. With a brain for business, she’s turned her famous name—that’s also appeared in over 150 television shows/movies (click here to view her impressive resume)—into a fashion “empire” and she’s the one calling the shots. Check out how she’s successfully grown her multi-line company in a competitive market, why she always listens to her customer, and what was surprising about her portrayal on Ladies of London in her exclusive chat with BigBlondeHair.com
BigBlondeHair.com: What motivated you to start your business, By Caprice?
Caprice Bourret: In the modeling world, regardless of how successful you are, you get to your thirties and you think “Oh god, oh god, (I have) one foot in the grave, I need to think of plan B now!” And when you think of plan B, you have to think of it when you’re at the top of your game. So I just kind of sat down and I thought “Ok what will everyone buy in to?” And it was lingerie and swimwear.
I initially did a licensing deal with a big company called Debenhams—it’s sort of the [UK] equivalent of Bloomingdales. Then after four years I saw how much it was making them and I thought “I’m going to do it myself”. So I bought back the license and I started my company, By Caprice. It was a really good transition and time because again I was at the very top of my game.
I just started to build what I had. Today I don’t have any equity partners so it’s just me running the show, and we’re one of the big boys here in England. It’s been really tough because of the economy but we’re still here and we’re doing really well.
BBH: Tell us a little bit about the Autumn/Winter 2014 By Caprice Swimwear Line.
CB: My collections are usually quite vibrant— my customer likes her color and her patterns—and I’ve got really great patterns this season, combined with my award-winning shapes. AW is just dropping and everyone in the US can buy it on ASOS.com (click here to shop the collection).
I go to Paris twice a year because I want to look at trends, but I also really listen to my customer. She likes to be fun, flirty, and sexy but she also likes really, really comfortable bras and swimwear. That (fit) is one thing I really pride myself on. I have very low exchange rates because I usually have four different fit models and everyone has a different kind of body and style. We do our best to compliment all different shapes.
BBH: I love ASOS and my readers also shop there a lot, so that’s great!
CB: Yes, right now we have more or less sold out my last collection (on ASOS) and my new collection is gorgeous!
BBH: How has your modeling experience influenced you as a designer?
CB: It hasn’t. Even remotely.
CB: No, no, no, because it’s not my preference. (My suits are) commercial, I’m not top end where my suits cost $500. I have to listen to my customer and my modeling days have no influence. Maybe it helps on the photo shoots, but that’s it really. Its all about business, numbers, target market, and really understanding my customer. It’s all about demand and that’s what you supply. Supply and demand, supply and demand.
BBH: What are your tips for girls who want to wear your swimwear but aren’t always as comfortable bearing skin at the beach?
CB: I have my monokinis and one pieces that are gorgeous. The coverage is conservative yet very fashionable. I have a little bit for everyone, so if you want a bit more coverage, you’ve got it!
BBH: Do you have any plans to branch the line out any further? (Currently, By Caprice also includes lingerie, sleepwear and bedding)
CB: Yes, you always have to expand and keep going, you can’t stay stagnant in business these days. So now we are working on a maternity line, because I was pregnant last year and I didn’t find anything good. I was so excited about my baby, but I’ve been (a UK) size 8, all my life and then all a sudden I’m size 12, and I still wanted to feel good and to look good for my man. I just didn’t find anything out there that that made me look good and that was functional. So we are working on a maternity line as a result.
BBH: That’s super exciting because I totally agree with you on maternity clothes, so will be looking forward to that. Speaking of pregnancy, how is balancing being a mom of young children and still running your business?
CB: Well there’s no secret other than no sleep, it’s tough. The way I love my children is the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced. I want to be with my children all the time, but I also run a business and have a lot of responsibility. I have a lot of people working for me and I’m supporting their families as well, so it’s just trying to find a good balance and to be honest I’m still trying to work that out.
I have a lovely married couple that helps with my children when I’m at the office everyday and my family lives 6,000 miles away. And I’ve got a really great office. I think it’s really important to have a great team around you, that’s for sure.
BBH: We loved the fashion on Ladies of London. Who are some of your favorite designers aside from yourself?
CB: Well my style has changed dramatically since being pregnant and now that I’m a mom I’m much more conservative. So I love my Prada’s and Valentino’s. I am definitely more A-line conservative always wearing black, always wearing my power suits.
BBH: How do you feel about your experience doing “Ladies of London” since you’ve had so much other experience on camera?
CB: (I felt) quite vulnerable. I had never succumbed to doing a show (like this) for my 17 years being in the media, and I did with Bravo. They are brilliant at doing these reality shows and they know their customer and what they want.
I think what really surprised me was watching the show and realizing that wasn’t really me. My mom would watch each show and she would look at me and say, “Is that scripted?” I said “Mom, it’s a reality show, it’s not scripted”. She would say “Because you’re not like that.” So I have to be honest, that was a little bit of a tricky thing for me. Maybe it was because I was hormonal, but it really wasn’t what I’m like. That was the biggest challenge for me. I guess they create a story, and they do what they need to do.
But it’s just sort of light hearted frivolous entertainment, and people want to come home from work and just tune out, and they can certainly do that with a Bravo show. And they probably appreciate their lives because of all the unnecessary drama that happens on these shows. They think “Oh my god I (thought I) had it bad, but no I actually don’t!”
BBH: Any parting words for us?
CB: Oh honey, it’s all about my brand. Growing up I always wanted to be Governor of California or to be like a Leona Helmsley—of course until she got busted for tax evasion then I went off it! I never in a million years thought that I would own a massive, little empire here in Europe. I’m so blessed that I love what I do, and I’m able to make a living at it and support my children. It’s all about family and work now.