After his success with nail files and cosmetics, there was plenty of chat about Lord Sugar ‘getting into tights’ during last year’s The Apprentice, as eventual runner-up Bianca Miller proposed a colour-matching service for women’s skin-tone hosiery. A good few boardroom grillings later, Lord Sugar put his investment behind Mark Wright and his online search company Climb Online. But it seems the boss of the boardroom hasn’t completely stepped away from the idea of tights.
“We’ve had email correspondence,” says Bianca who launches a crowdfunding project today to support the company’s marketing costs ahead of Bianca Miller London’s official launch in October.
What was conceived as a high-end brand will now be aimed at the high-street, with each pair of tights set to retail at £8.99. For many Apprentice viewers this may seem like a move Bianca should have made during the show. Lord Sugar seemed pretty keen at the time to shift the company in that direction and his former aide Nick Hewer was in agreement, noting that the product would work well if Lord Sugar ramped up production and dropped the price – but Bianca doesn’t see it as cut and dry as that.
“The show is heavily edited and at the time I did say, ‘OK, we could drop the price.’ Price point is something that’s always flexible. In my business plan for the show it was always to start with a luxury product, build that aspiration and then do a diffusion range, which would be cheaper. I now feel from the general outpouring of support that lots of people, with different amounts of money to spend, want that product.
“I don’t think it’s how I pitched it or what it was pitched at in terms of price point. I think he just wasn’t interested in hosiery.”
But it doesn’t seem like the door has firmly closed. Indeed, when I ask whether Lord Sugar has since shown any interest in investing in the company, Bianca answers with a laugh and “no comment”.
“I’m happy with the direction that we’re going at the moment,” she adds, pointedly.
As it stands, the product will roll out online and in department stores and boutiques nationwide from October. Those supporting the crowd-funding project will be able to get, among other packages, tights at a discounted rate, with eight different shades – from English Rose to Sub-Saharan African – available.
Crowdfund available at http://igg.me/at/BiancaMillerLondonfrom 9am on Tuesday 12th May.