Name: Chanel Costabir
Business name: The Lingerie Boutique
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Chanel Costabir had absolutely no business experience when she began building The Lingerie Boutique, which launched in 2010 as an online destination for luxurious lingerie.
She did, however, have years of experience in lingerie fitting, resulting in a keen eye for well-fitting and perfectly crafted items.
“No one was really offering this kind of high end, luxury lingerie, especially online, in Australia. I saw there was a good opportunity,” she says.
“I found there was a trade show in Paris where all the top designers would be. I needed stock for my store, although all I had was my concept and my knowledge of the sector. So I flew out there.”
Costabir managed to speak to designers, explain her idea and convince them it would attract media attention, despite having nothing to show them and speaking very little French.
She returned from Paris with 12 designers’ products before selecting the six she thought would sell best, including labels not yet seen in Australia such as Robert Cavalli and Lisa Lingerie.
Her website was up and running within two weeks and, as promised, the launch of the business received coverage from various media outlets.
“There’s been a lot of interest from overseas, with brands from the US and Europe contacting me,” Costabir says.
While Costabir has set her sights on some big-name clients, she intends to stay solo in business.
“I don’t see myself partnering with anyone. I want to be the largest luxury online retailer. There are so many great brands that need to be here in Australia,” she says.