Seconds out.....! with Deborah Price
Deborah Price, Managing Director, british-boxers.com.
Deborah Price grew up in Cheshire - her dad was a vicar and her mum a writer. Deb studied for a degree in fashion and textile design in Manchester in the early 90's and soon afterwards moved to London to start a career in fashion buying. Deb says "You'd think it would be glamorous wouldn't you but when you move down with your imagination of how your career is going to pan out and in reality you're sat in a freezing warehouse in East Acton writing out fabric packing lists for customs you seen realise that there's a lot more to this job than shopping trips in Paris and wearing the right shoes. It's important to know and understand every part of the business through and through and those early days working in the rag trade taught me so many lessons about processes, logistics, factories, manufacturing, communication and sheer hard work".
Deb soon progressed to high end nightwear company Bonsoir of London where she eventually became Head of Buying - she supplied Harrods, Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges, Nieman Marcus and many more. She says "We'd design two collections a year, putting them together for mail order, website and wholesale. Again it was hard work, but what I learned here was my eye for detail - the luxury market and an absolute passion for beautifully made nightwear and careful manufacturing processes. I was able to use my skills from design degree and could design my own fabrics too and that was a joy"
After the birth of her daughter Martha who had a genetic disability called Williams Syndrome, Deborah moved back to the North and left Bonsoir. "I needed to control my time, be near family - I'd always wanted my own business and I knew nothing could be as awful as receiving a second class letter in the post saying your kid would need lifelong care. If we lost the house I didn't care, if I drove a crap van and my shoes fell apart I didn't care. Nothing mattered apart from my family and my business."
"I decided to begin my business with boxer shorts. I had £4000 worth of savings which would be enough to buy a little stock and some packaging. I went to artisan markets 3 times a month to provide cash flow and I stood often in the rain (we're in the North of the UK) telling people about what I was doing. I called the business British Boxers because we were literally making the boxer shorts in Britain, and my great, great, great grandfather had been the great Victorian and First World Heavyweight boxing Champion Jem Mace - his amazing rags to riches to rags story would be the hook i needed for press and publicity, his literal fight echoing my own metaphorical one I had for my daughter and of course the boxer shorts themselves were British made. We couldn't call the brand anything other than British Boxers could we."
Deb started british-boxers.com in 2013 and since then has sold over 15000 units, turned over £250 000 and sold the brand to Harrods. She successfully crowdfunded investment in 2016 with Crowdcube. In her own time she likes doing the pub quiz and playing the flute.