Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Business of Boden ; Perfectionist: No Detail Is Too Small for Johnnie Boden

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Business of Boden ; Perfectionist: No Detail Is Too Small for Johnnie Boden

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn

FOR some Londoners it is now difficult to conceive of a life pre-Boden, when casual wear was bought during frantic pre-holiday forays to the high street.

Then in 1991 this unlikely entrepreneur an Old Etonian failed banker and scion of a military family launched his first catalogue. It was hand drawn in Johnnie Bodens London flat and the models for the meagre range of eight items were all friends and family.

Seventeen spring collections on, Boden is a phenomenon. Far more than a catalogue (and since 1999 a website), he has given his name to a social class, a life-style aspiration, an entire zeitgeist. Perhaps more importantly he has created a wildly successful business. It turned over about ?150 million last year with profits of perhaps ?25 million or more. That conservatively values the company at about ?250 million and the Boden familys stake at close to ?100 million give or take the odd ?10 million.

The frightening thing is that the credit crunch notwithstanding the potential for growth is still vast. About a third of sales are now in America, where Boden is fast catching up with Burberry and Aquascutum as an essential element of the English look. …

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