The UK arm of French fashion and lifestyle brand, Captain Tortue, celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. Based in Horsham, the UK & Ireland Division is run from The Mill House, Mill Bay Lane – a charming setting, just a stone’s throw from the centre of town. It’s in such a tucked away location, you’d be forgiven for not knowing it existed!
The company sells women’s and children’s clothing, exclusively through its independent consultants, who sell directly to customers at home or via informal events. Founded in 1993 by Lilian and Philppe Jacqueline, Captain Tortue is still a family business today. Little Captain, for children (Capt’n Tortue) is the heritage brand and was the only collection for the first 10 years. Exclusive designs, luxury fabrics and a creative way of selling, makes Captain Tortue unique. With its French headquarters in Aix en Provence, this inspiring brand epitomises the ethos of French chic.
Managing Director, Mimi Bogelund, has seen a phenomenal growth in the business, since she launched the UK Division in 2005, from her home in Storrington. A few years later, Ireland was added to the mix. 10 years on and the UK & Ireland Division employs 7 staff, retains 350 consultants and has a turnover approaching £4m. Sales are up 40% on last year and the future is certainly looking rosy.
Mimi explains, “Captain Tortue offers a unique way for women to do something they love doing, while being flexible enough to fit in with their daily lives and commitments. Our consultants are really passionate about the brand and customers love the easy, friendly, sociable way of shopping. It works equally well in an urban or rural environment – that’s because the clothes are unique, affordable and can’t be bought on the High Street or online.”
The UK office covers everything but warehousing and distribution, which is handled in France. The team look after sales & marketing, finance, training, administration and customer services. Horsham was chosen as its base because of the proximity to Gatwick and London and the excellent transport links in general. But more than that, because Horsham is a buzzing, vibrant environment; a great place to work, for entertaining visitors and inspiring creativity.
A 10th anniversary lunch & Autumn/Winter fashion show will take place at The Montcalm Hotel, London. The show will be presented by Founder & Creative Director, Lilian Jaqueline, who will also formally announce the appointment of author, TV presenter and business woman, Saira Khan, as Brand Ambassador. Saira first graced our screens as the runner up on the inaugural UK Series of The Apprentice, in 2005, and has since become a regular presence on British TV. She has just been signed up to present a new ITV daytime game show, airing next month, and joined ITV’s Loose Women (as a guest panellist) last Monday.