After an inauspicious start, things are looking up for London-based J.P. Boden & Co. The clothing mail-order catalogue, which is filled with the founder’s friends as opposed to models, was launched by Johnnie Boden. The ex-stockbroker used £100k – mostly from an unexpected inheritance – business angel funding, and a gut instinct that the British were hungry for a Gap-like clothing catalogue. The early years were rocky. Operating losses exceeded £200k annually from 1993 to 1995. And the costly catalogue is still bleeding the company. Chief executive Boden estimates it annually costs the equivalent of leasing ten retail outlets. But last year turnover increased 71% to a profitable £9.5m. And 20,000 new customers purchased, on average, £110 worth of merchandise. J.P. Boden has also launched a children’s catalogue.
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