You might not know it, but one of the biggest names in lingerie is former Dragon’s Den kingpin Theo Paphitis.
Five years ago, the Ryman and Robert Dyas owner launched classy lingerie chain Boux Avenue.
And, as Paphitis tells Loaded: “The reason lingerie looks like a fun and sexy business to work in is because it is fun and sexy.”
The former Millwall chairman talks to Loaded at the launch of Boux Avenue’s 2016 summer range at the swimming pool inside swanky central London hotel The Haymarket Hotel.
Stunning models like Chloe Lloyd and Kara Rose Marshall are in attendance. Another model, Charlotte De Carle, is on the decks, DJing in her bra. And more models perform a spectacular routine in the pool itself to Nicki Minaj’s Starships in what can only be described as aquabatics.
It’s no wonder Paphitis has a broad grin when he admits: “Look around you: I could do this for the rest of my life!”
By its fifth anniversary, Boux Avenue has achieved £50m in sales form its worldwide stores. “It’s just so much fun to do,” smiles Paphitis, 56. “It feels like only yesterday when the lovely Jacqui Ainsley launched the brand.”
Paphitis jokes that Boux Avenue has succeeded “despite launching in a recession – and on April 1”.
But the big question is, has the boss ever tried pouring himself into any of Boux Avenue’s sexy bra and knickers? Paphiitis has the decency to laugh and responds: “I can promise you, without any shadow of a doubt, the answer to that question is no.”
What he is willing to speculate on is launching his own TV show. Since quitting Dragon’s Den in 2012, Paphitis’ main TV work is as an occasional reporter on The One Show. So what about his own show again? “Watch this space. There are a few other TV projects you’ll hear about very soon.”
With the rest of his empire looking in better nick than his pal Sir Philip Green’s right now, Paphitis can afford to be content.
He summarises: “Five years on, Boux Avenue has improved our sales, improved our business. But it’s about our customers, not us.
“The swimwear, lingerie and nightwear are important, but so is the lifestyle of offering the experience of going into a shop that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
“I’m a very happy man. Seeing businesses like Boux Avenue grow from nothing, I can’t get more satisfaction than that.”
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn