Persistence is the key to making it in business, according to supermodel turned businesswoman Caprice, whose underwear brand ‘By Caprice’ was turned down by Next seven times.
Caprice, a keynote speaker at Event UK in Birmingham this week, told the audience that becoming a company CEO had been a steep learning curve and that she almost lost her business twice.
“I had to call the buyer at Next seven times - and this is me at the height of my fame,” she revealed. “I thought oh my goodness is this guy is gay?, but even if he was he should’ve wanted to take me on! But I finally got the account; it’s persistence and it’s tough. I had people saying ‘yes Cap, what do you want, you’re beautiful’, now I have Next saying ‘no Caprice we can’t do that’. It was very difficult for my ego.”
Learning to manage cash flow and invest in quality suppliers and staff had been instrumental in her success, Caprice added.
“My first collection was all about me and I thought everyone would love it, but they didn’t so I had to listen and hire people who knew what they were doing,” she said. “Buyers want a lot for their money and there’s a lot of competition out there. I took a bit of a hit on my margins to give them a better product, but they appreciate it.”
Knowing your business inside out and thinking ahead were also essential said the 38-year-old Californian.
“I know every little thing about my business; if my project manager were to leave I could step in and do it until I found someone else. You need to think ahead too; I could be in a bit of a danger zone because my main client is one of the major department stores. If I were to lose them I would be in trouble, so I am now looking for another big client. The recession has re-jigged my brain,” she said.