Deborah Price is the owner of British-Boxers.
She qualified as a textile designer in 1996 and spent the next 15 years buying and merchandising in London, most recently as Head of Buying for luxury nightwear brand, Bonsoir of London.
Deborah left Bonsoir in 2012 to set up british-boxers.com Inspired by a gap in the market for stylish nightwear, Deborah and her business partner husband Darren, embraced crowdfunding to kickstart the brand, built up a loyal and ever-growing sartorial following. She wanted to create a brand that would appeal to a new generation of men and women who love the regeneration of traditional design and skills combined with the modern need for luxury and comfort.
But as Deborah explains, she set up british-boxers.com because she needed to juggle her family and work better. Her 5 year old daughter had just been diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, which is a randomly occuring genetic disability which means she has learning difficulties and medical issues, her son was very much still a baby and her husband had recently been made redundant. “We needed money and I needed to control my own time. My husband also wanted to run for parliament to fight the corner of other people with disabilities who were struggling through endless austerity and we had very little money. We started with £4000 that we’d saved up.”
The brand’s name is inspired by Deborah’s family roots of world renowned boxer, Jem Mace. British Boxers have gone on to supply Harrods, independent department stores, gentlemens’ outfitters, lingerie shops and now export worldwide. They also produce private label collections for shops on London’s exclusive Jermyn St, Marylebone High St and Kensington High St. Their new range includes luxury night and lounge wear for men and women.
Best piece of advise you’ve ever been given and by whom?
Funnily enough it was from the chairman of the last company I worked for as a buyer before setting up on my own and he said “If you want something doing, always give it to the busiest person in the office” I just used to say “Yes” to everything, I was ridiculously busy but I ended up designing, buying, marketing, costing, sales and was a stickler for good admin too. The experience I gained doing so many roles in the buying offices I worked for in London was fundamental in me being able to run my own business and make it a success.
Who’s the most famous person’s number in your phone ?
PAUL SMITH! What a hero.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
My musical taste is quite odd. When I was very young and up until secondary school, we didn’t really have pop music in the house and I learned classical flute to grade 8 so my taste can go a bit highbrow and I like Bach or Mozart but I also think that because we didn’t have much pop music as soon as i discovered it I went a bit full on cheese and so my shuffle can go from Mozart’s concerto in D Minor to Stock Aitken and Waterman to First Aid Kit and all the Radio 6 stuff. I’m not a snob about music and I think some people can be and they do themselves a disservice. If something is well written and beautifully sung or played I don’t care whether it’s a full on orchestra, an X factor winner or someone on stage at Glastonbury. Let’s listen. Does it move me us to tears, does it make us happy, does it make us dance. Just enjoy it all. Pass me a flute, a recorder or a tin whistle and ask me to play something though and I usually can.
Oh it’s a ring my husband Darren bought me last year. It’s so brilliant. It’s nothing overly fancy, there are no expensive rocks in it or anything like that but it’s just a nugget of silver he asked my silversmith friend Jackie Harold to design for me and around the edge he asked her to stamp “One Rainy Tuesday” Darren and I got engaged on a rainy Tuesday when we lived in London. We were having a row with each other in the pub the week before Valentines Day and he annoyed me off because he said “You’re not banging on about babies and weddings again are you? If I was going to ask you to marry me I’ll do it one rainy Friday down the pub” I said “What about a rainy Tuesday” and he called my bluff and asked me there and then. I made him phone my dad though so he couldn’t back ot the next day. I’m such an old bat.. Hahaha. We always say the romance happens on rainy days and during the normality of every day life. You don’t need the eiffel tower. You just need an umbrella and an east end boozer.
If you could collaborate with one brand, who would it be and why?
We do collaborate with some brands producing private label nightwear and underwear collections already and I’d love to work with more. It would be great to work with someone like Hunter. It’s all very well going out with the dog in your posh wellies but you need to come back out of the rain and put on your posh PJs too don’t you. There are others. Fortnum and Mason would be great to work with as would John Lewis. Just labels and stores whose customers would totally get our ethos of good quality manufacturing, beautiful fabric and classic British design with a slight eccentricity.
My life is an absolute rollercoaster of deep lows and the most amazing highs. Our little girl was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome when she was 2 and it means she’ll need some level of lifelong care. She has learning difficulties and physical problems too. Sometimes “caring” rather than just being a mum can be unbelievably difficult and the day to day maul of that cannot be underestimated. It’s very easy to dismiss it as something we’d all do but when you’re the one crying in public loos or the government don’t seem to be listening to your voice because you’re so mired in the day to day it’s suffocating. 1 in 8 adults are carers in the UK and most of us will be at some points in our lives. I’m so fortunate that I have british-boxers.com which acts as a tonic away from it all too so my life is some sort of mish mash of being mum, wife, carer, business owner, doing the radio (I do a regular talking head thing on Radio Stoke) and sometimes you just have to get up and keep going even if it seems like it’s all falling apart. I think my book would be something like “Get up and put your pants on”
What’s your Favourite movie ever ?
My favourite films are the ones I watched as a child. So ET. It’s got kids on bikes that can fly!! It makes me cry, it makes me laugh, or Flight of the Navigator, or Labyrinth or The Goonies. Just something with a sense of adventure. I love watching them with my own kids now.
Favourite hotel in the world ?
We saved for a house deposit and then we had kids.. I’m not entirely convinced that the Premier Inn in Hockley Heath is what you’re looking for here is it.. It’s probably our little tent in the rain somewhere in North Wales drinking Aldi sherry and eating Dairy Milk. When we set up the business it’s taken years of work to bring it up to where it is today. There’s no budget for fancy hotels.
So many. Obviously there are the life moments, when the children were born and when Darren and I got married but in terms of work the time we got our order from Harrods was very special. I’d been on set at a studio shoot in Manchester and the email came through with the order. On the way back I had to pull my van over and have a little cry It was like the years of graft that we’d put in had suddenly been recognised and valued by one of the most famous stores in the world. That was gold. I also remember the time we got our crowd funding and my husband turned up at my tiny office with a bottle of prosecco and three glasses and me, my friend Heather who is a wood carver (her studio was in the same building) and Darren just had this prosecco. Amazing day that was.
How do spent your free time ?
Hahahahhahaahhahahaha. Oh you were being serious. Right then, probably annoying Daily Mail readers on Twitter.
What piece of clothing would you relegate to Room 101 ?
It’s got to be the polyester fleece onesie hasn’t it. I mean if you’re a woman and you need the loo the whole thing has to go on the floor, and then it’s the fact it’s polyester so you’ll be far too hot in bed and also they just look awful don’t they unless you’re 4 and it’s shaped like Scooby Doo. I might let that ride but only just..
If you could have invented anything what would it be ?