The Apprentice runner-up turns dream into reality with hosiery brand for professionals

03:24:00

Bianca Miller 3Bianca Miller, runner-up of last year’s The Apprentice, has officially launched Bianca Miller London, a new hosiery brand which specialises in catering to women of all complexions after originally pitching the idea to Lord Sugar on the hit reality TV show.

Luxury hosiery brand for women of all complexions

Working hard on the project since finishing second to Climb Online founder Mark Wright, Bianca has launched a brand which sells a ‘‘range of nude tones have been carefully selected to satisfy complexions ranging from English Rose to Sub-Saharan African.’’
For women that are looking for a range of tights that match their skin colour, Bianca Miller London will initially be offering tights and lace hold-ups, with the collection extending to other complementary products on an evolving seasonal basis.
The brand intends to build on the direct enquiries from views of the BBC Business Show The Apprentice, where the brand proposition was viewed by over 120 million people worldwide.
Bianca Miller tights

Extensive market research

Originally intending to sell the tights for a price of around £30 per pair, Bianca has now lowered that figure, now offering eight nude tones in a gloss sheen at a retail price starting from only £12. Miller is flying the UK flag proudly, as her brand is an official member of the ‘Made in Britain’ campaign.
According to UK market research, 236 million pairs of tights, knee-highs, hold ups and stockings were purchased in 2013, while UK Hosiery has a 26.5 per cent share of the Lingerie market with a value of £844m. As a whole, the UK hosiery market is growing five per cent year-on-year.
The colours have been carefully developed based on extensive research to adequately cover an array of skin tones, the density of the material means our unique 8 shades would suit over 30 skin tones.
Bianca Miller London will launch online on the 18th November 2015 and will be stocked in store and online via Selfridges in AW15.

‘It’s been a long time coming!’

Speaking exclusively to SME Insider, Bianca can’t wait till women of all shapes and sizes purchase her exclusive range of tights.
How does it feel to finally achieve your dream of launching your own hosiery business, an idea which was born on The Apprentice?
It’s been a long time coming! I have wanted the right shade of nude tights since I was 18 so to finally see it realised and with my name on the front is amazing.
If I’m being honest I always thought that someone would launch a brand of nude hosiery that catered to me and I would be a customer, but the idea was received so well on The Apprentice that I knew I had to make it happen. Not just for me but for all of the women who have struggled choosing tights which suit them.
What has it been like setting up the business – what were the biggest challenges?
I have had a business before, but never in retail, so understanding the retail environment and expectations on margin, delivery, buyer relationships etc was a challenge.
I also think that ensuring the brand stood for what I envisaged was also a major challenge, so I worked really hard with the manufacturer to get the product right – silky, soft with the right level of sheen and the right colouring to represent a diverse range of skin tones.
I worked with the designer to make sure the design was good and with the packaging company to choose the right size, texture and look; then working with the photographer to ensure the images were illustrative of my own vision.
Any advice to entrepreneurs who want to break in to the fashion business?
Find a niche that you’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to be a unique proposition – most things have been done before, but you just want to ensure that you deliver it in unique, innovative or compelling way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the experts, where possible go to people in the industry and ask them what they think. My network has been crucial in this journey.
Finally, fashion is a competitive industry and a difficult one to crack, but then what industry isn’t? “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”
If you haven’t read it already (where have you been?!) check out Bianca’s exclusive insight into the latest episode of The Apprentice.

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