Posted on 24 May 2016
They say that in business you must be tough to survive, but you never really realise exactly how tough, until you are tested on every level imaginable. Beautifullyundressed.com has just relaunched with a new look website, and no, you're not wrong in thinking we made a similar announcement less than one year ago.
I started Beautifully Undressed in 2012 with a clear vision; to make luxury lingerie accessible on a global scale. Coming from West Africa, I was acutely aware of the gap in the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets for stunning European design, and so I began building a platform that would serve these, and other emerging customer bases. Like many indie retailers, I single-handedly raised the business from the ground up, only calling on the help of freelancers when budget allowed. But the concept was greatly received and following international photo shoots, catwalk events and an increase in brands willing to come on board, by 2015, Beautifully Undressed was transactional across Europe, USA, the Caribbean and Brazil, via a brand new look website which I had saved up everything I could to commission, and launch.
This website was my upgrade, taking me from the basic website I had originally launched the business with, to a responsive shop platform associated with my global transaction partners. It was my 'Holy Grail'. Or at least, it was meant to be. I put all my trust, and funds, in the hands of a programmer that I was convinced would deliver me what I had been working toward. Of course I wont go into any detail here about where it all started to go wrong, but essentially, my new investment, which looked lovely to visit online, wasn't all it needed to be at the back end. Cracks started to appear and when I tried to resolve them with this freelancer, things got very bitter and my entire website was unceremoniously kicked off the secure server I had paid to have it on. I lost everything. The whole site. Even my back-up files had 'mysteriously' been corrupted.
To say I was devastated is an understatement. I felt like everything I had worked toward for three years had just unravelled in front of me and there was nothing I could do. The stress was palpable, even my health declined. My worst fear though, was having to explain the situation to all the amazing labels who had the confidence to come on board as a BU brand. I understand that indie designers need to have confidence in their stockists, not only do they have orders to fulfil, they need to cherry-pick which retailers are going to portray their brand in the right way, and I felt that I had really let them down.
Amazingly, everyone was incredibly supportive and sympathetic to what I had been through, some even having gone through similar situations themselves. I was blown away but this awesome network of creatives who are so passionate about the industry and I admired how the brands supported not only Beautifully Undressed, but each other during this time. It renewed my energy and I knew I had to press on. I have always had a strong belief in the business, and I'm positive that Beautifully Undressed truly is a unique retail destination. Against all odds, I have emerged with the determination to keep going, and my outlook on the future is as positive as ever.
So BeautifullyUndressed.com has relaunched. Again. This time I'm using Shopify as a platform, and while it doesn't look like the site I so meticulously-designed before, it is secure, user-friendly and transactional. All of the amazing brands I have built up a relationship with over the past three years have stayed with me, and I have happily just had Hesper Fox come on board!
In the intimates industry there are many 'one woman' business owners just like me, who whether they are a brand or a retailer, find themselves putting everything on the line to survive and see their dream through. Sometimes we get let down in a big way, but we can’t let negativity stop us from pursuing those dreams and making them become reality. This industry has touched my heart and I want to thank everyone for their support during this time.
The future is looking beautifully bright with gorgeous lingerie!
BU Bosslady xoxo