60 second start-up: Johnny Tuxedo

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

My business Buxton Pickles Limited designs and manufactures ladies tailoring for high street retailers including Next, Hobbs, LKBennett, Whistles, etc and had sales over £10m in 2012.

But I want to talk to you today about our brand new business - Johnny Tuxedo.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

Johnny Tuxedo launched on April 23rd 2013. Its an online menswear retail business selling fashionable, washable, quality dinner suits for £99. We are aimed squarely at the 16-25 year old market.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

At this price we are not just competing with other suit retailers but also the hire wear companies. So we've got competition from hire wear companies like Moss Bros as well as the usual retailer suspects like M&S, Next and Topman.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

Nobody else has a cool fashionable brand specifically targeting this market at this price. We worked hard on styling, fit, quality, detailing. We are delighted with our web site and branding and the feedback has been brilliant. An emphasis on great social media output and traditional PR to pull through traffic to the site has been very successful. With sales coming from all around the world from day 1 it's not just a UK audience that was starved of Johnny Tuxedo.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

We set Johnny Tuxedo up with some really talented people we have worked with before. The digital company owner Matt, the PR guru Nathan, the graphics and branding expert Ed, the amazing photographer Dan, the very clever graduate Molly who did the market research and background work… everyone has a stake in the company and has worked for nothing keeping start-up costs to a minimum.

The cash flow and investment we required for stock etc has been provided by Buxton Pickles and we have the largest shareholding.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Before Johnny Tuxedo, I already had two other companies - Buxton Pickles Ltd and Norton & Townsend.

Buxton Pickles is involved in design and manufacture of ladies tailoring and was established 12 years ago. We have a team of 14 in UK and 16 in Czech Republic. We sub contract production to a brilliant factory in Bulgaria.

Norton & Townsend is a bespoke mens tailoring business with shops in Spitalfields, London and Ilkley, West Yorkshire and a free visiting tailor service all over the UK.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

I had the idea for Johnny Tuxedo 2 years ago but it needed some really detailed research to check the market was as keen as we hoped, the type of product that was required and also to establish price points. I am always too busy and so the idea was shelved on and off until we took on a student last summer who got stuck into it and proved us right.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

The smartest thing with Johnny was definitely dividing the shareholding with my very talented colleagues. Not only is everyone passionate and working hard, we are all having a lot of fun too. I think it shows in the branding and photographs.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

I don't think we have messed up with Johnny Tuxedo yet. It is bound to happen at some point - nobody is perfect and we are trying lots of new ideas out. As long as we learn from any mistakes it won't be disasterous anyway.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Penguin. Get it?

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

The way the Virgin brand has been stretched so successfully whilst maintaining its values and personality is genius. But who isn't a bit jealous of Richard Branson?

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

Here, at my desk in this lovely office in Ilkley with a fantastic team running our 3 exciting businesses. I wouldn't even swap all this with Branson, I love it all too much.


For more information check out - www.johnnytuxedo.co.uk

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