Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas

Company information

A design for retail life

Oliver Bonas has come a long way since opening its first shop in Fulham, London back in 1993. Today the retailer has 58 stores nationwide offering a diverse collection of products, from women’s clothing and jewellery to furniture, homeware, unusual gifts and the odd item that defies categorisation.

In creating products for these stores, the retailer’s team of designers takes its inspiration from a wide range of genres. Founder and CEO Oliver Tress believes the decision to carve out a niche by establishing a team to produce products to the company’s own designs and specifications has been the biggest factor behind its success.

“We have a track record of doubling sales every three years; we feel this is manageable”

“It has never been more important to have a ‘USP’ and this has given us a point of difference with the customer, landlords and the media,” he says. “As well as giving us three successive years of double-digit growth, historically, it has also helped us secure new sites, often at favourable rates.”

Oliver Bonas continues to look for new opportunities for growth, both through diversification in product lines and increasing its international footprint. Online sales are expanding strongly ahead of target and the retailer is taking steps to increase international e-commerce sales. The company is also due to open its first airport store in 2017.
“We will seek to employ around 700 extra staff over the next five years in order to meet growing customer demand,” says Oliver.

  • 58 - The number of stores that Oliver Bonas has nationwide, compared to just one store in 1993

Oliver’s advice for anyone wanting to start up a business and emulate his company’s success is to keep it simple, with a scalable business model and total clarity about why you are setting up the business. He advises new businesses to seek help with an open mind. “No one knows everything,” he says, “so work out what help you need and find a way to bring people with you.”