Decisions: Caprice Bourret - Owner of the lingerie and swimwear business

MY BEST ... was to hire a full-time accountant. With a small business, cashflow is key - I have to know exactly what's coming and going for the next year.

by Caprice Lingerie
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

My biggest problem is that my company is growing tremendously from one season to another. Every two months I produce a new collection, then 14 days later I have to pay my factory, but I don't get paid by my buyers until 60 days after that. So if I didn't have a strong cashflow, what would happen if one season I have to pay the factory £350,000 and the next season, because we've grown so much, I have to pay them £1.2m?

So my best decision was to take someone on full-time to really manage and pay attention to my cashflow on a daily basis. I hired a bookkeeper initially, but as the business grew and everything became a little more intricate, I needed someone more experienced to manage our immense growth.

It was my best decision, because if I hadn't have hired him, my business would probably have gone under!

MY WORST... decision happened when I first started out in my business: I was designing for what I liked in lingerie - for my own tastes.

Initially, I had just licensed my name, so I didn't have a market to scrutinise and to see what lingerie people actually wanted to wear. Instead I said: 'I like this, I like that, and this looks better on my body', and so I designed according to my needs and the first two collections didn't work. Then I decided to really listen to my market and make commercial decisions - not decisions that appeased me. And then, all of a sudden, the collection just flew off the shelves.

I bought back the licence more than three years ago, and about a year ago I started to see a real change in the turnover.

I get pleasure from my business by seeing the numbers for each collection go up and up and up. When you put so much time and so much money into something and all of a sudden it starts to be successful, that is unbelievable. It is so gratifying; it's the biggest reward out of anything I've ever done in my entire adult life.

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