James Gold, Richard Gold and Lewis Blitz co-founded Skinnydip after seeing a major gap in the fashion accessory market.
You have achieved so much for such a young team, is your age an advantage or a drawback?
I think the biggest advantage of our age is our lack of fear. We run Skinnydip in a very direct, fast paced manner cutting out middle management and reacting directly and quickly to new opportunities which I believe has been integral for our growth.
At what point did the idea turn from a concept into reality?
Launching our first concession into Topshop Oxford Circus in August 2013 was our first foray into retailing. We achieved our weekly sales target in a day and loved the responsibility of being in control of what the range looked liked and how it was displayed in store. Two and half years on, to walk down Oxford Street and see Skinnydip products on so many people is such a great feeling.
Do more stand alone stores feature in the growth plan for the business?
At the moment we are quite happy with our portfolio which is dominated by our concessions with a few key stand-alone stores. However, should the right opportunity present itself and we believed it would benefit Skinnydip and introduce the brand to a new customer, it is something we would definitely consider. One area we are very interested in is international expansion, in particular in the US and Japan, two territories where we receive huge traffic on our website.
How important is a combined internet/bricks and mortar approach for your core consumer?
It is essential. Online continues to grow rapidly for us and in terms of revenue, is our number one store. However, what you don’t get online is the ‘experience’ aspect that is the most important element of our bricks and mortar locations. Skinnydip has built up a cult following by being different to every other brand in the market and we try and show this by offering the most incredible customer experience we can. We throw regular in store parties and whether it’s having DJ’s in store, nail bars, braid bars or just handing out a selection of donuts or sweets, we ensure something is always going on. In turn, we have found this leads to increased brand loyalty and in turn drives customers either online or back into store.
As entrepreneurs at such an early age, will you ever be able to work for anyone else?
Who knows what the future holds but having started Skinnydip straight out of university, it would be difficult!
What part of your role at Skinnydip do you enjoy the most and why?
Seeing the growth of the brand, especially over the last year has been beyond enjoyable. From starting with just my brother and best friend to the current team of over 50 people all working to try and build one of the biggest accessory brands in the world makes going into the office every day a pleasure. Also, just walking down Carnaby Street and seeing the Skinnydip shopfront never feels real and is something that has made all the hard work worthwhile.