London, 21st January 2014 UK-based shapewear and lingerie online retailer Joanna’s Wardrobe, www.joannaswardrobe.com, announces the recent acquisition of fashion-led online luxury lingerie website www.foxandrose.com
Fox & Rose customers will want to know how you benefit from this news. So who’s the woman behind Joanna’s Wardrobe and now Fox & Rose? Here’s an extract of an interview with Karen Norman.
“I’m a banker by background. I started off my career very briefly at Royal Bank of Scotland, but I worked for the majority of my time in the City at the Royal Bank of Canada. I mainly worked in service areas to start with, like international payments, but after a few years, I made the move to the front office, selling Securities.
The decision to set up a lingerie retail site initially came from the decision to leave the City and do something that could be based at home. I knew had the skills to run a business from my previous work, and my husband suggested he could build me a retail website. That got me thinking, “Well, what can I sell that I know something about?” So to cut a long story short I had a personal interest in pinup-inspired lingerie, I was up for doing some modelling to keep the costs down and my husband had a camera (don’t they all lol) so it all seemed quite natural in the end. The biggest shock was moving from a very large corporate environment where I was just a cog in the machine, to one where I was responsible for pretty much everything.
There were some specific things I wanted to be different about Joanna’s Wardrobe, like wanting to create a website that looked a bit quirky and different but was really easy to use, and selling small independent brands that you can’t find on the high street. I also wanted it to help men to buy the right things for their partners but I wanted it to appeal to women, too. I didn’t want to sell tacky bedroom lingerie, but on the other hand I wanted it to be a bit edgy. I think I achieved all of those things.
People always ask me why it’s called “Joanna’s Wardrobe” and not “Karen’s Wardrobe”. To be honest in the beginning although I enjoyed doing it, I was a bit nervous about people knowing it was me doing some of the modelling so I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself. But in the end it came down to the fact I felt “Joanna” suited the retro feel of the site. The me-as-model cat is well out of the bag now and I don’t do it now anyway, I leave the modelling to the professionals – but even so a lot of people call me Joanna and I just go along with it.”
To bring us up to date, Karen continues:
“With a lot of hard work and a lot of support from some wonderful friends and fellow lingerie afficionados the website was launched in December 2008 and over the last five years has gone from strength to strength, focussing mainly on retro lingerie and shapewear. That was great and incredibly satisfying, especially in a recession and seeing lots of other sites go under, because it proved I know how to run a business well and that my choices of what will sell are generally right. What’s particularly gratifying is our large and loyal customer base and the high levels of customer satisfaction that my Customer Service Team gets from our annual customer feedback survey. This team will now look after everyone at Fox & Rose too so you can expect the same excellent level of service.
But on the marketing side I still felt I wanted us to get edgier and more fashion-led, and when we put together our 2014 business plan my finance team and I decided it was time to invest some of the success of Joanna’s Wardrobe in expansion into the fashion lingerie market. So when Amanda approached me with an opportunity to acquire the Fox & Rose brand it represented an ideal opportunity to fast-track – a brilliant concept, an established and industry recognised brand, some brilliant designers on board and a good base of the right pieces on their website. I think buying Fox & Rose probably saved us two years over growing it from scratch, and conceptually it’s pretty much exactly what I envisioned building.
But at the end of the day, the concept of shopping by the Fox & Rose personalities really appeals to me and really fits with the way I have always related my lingerie choices to either the good girl or the bad girl in me – so much so that when I visited the site as a competitor I often wished I had thought of it! So Alex and Amanda who invented the concept and have brought it this far can be confident I’ll look after their creation.”
We’ll be talking to Karen soon about her future plans for Fox & Rose, and she will contribute to the Blog regularly with articles and updates on all things lingerie.
Fox & Rose