Reality television star Chrystal Chenery is dipping her toes into retail as brand ambassador of Christchurch roof tiler Dee Wilson’s thigh-high boots label, Bozzy Boots. After a fruitless two-year search for a similar product, Wilson has launched what looks to be the next big footwear trend. She took us behind the scenes.
– Tell us about the process of creating Bozzy Boots. How involved were you in their design and manufacturing?
I had recently come back from living overseas. I had had two kids in the space of a year and was feeling like I needed something for myself. I played with the idea of opening a store, but being away from the kids really bothered me.
I had been searching for a pair of thigh-highs for, honestly, nearly two years, and always falling flat at the last hurdle – size, fit or shipping. I was having a wine outside with my husband one night when I said, “I’m going try and design some boots and get them made. What do you think?” “Yeah, that would be awesome,” he said. “Give it a go, you have nothing to lose.”
The only problem was that I can’t draw – I have no experience in design or the retail industry. But anyway, I put an ad in the paper for a sketch artist and I just tackled each problem as it arose. It took me a month just to find a few different manufacturers. I had seven prototypes come back to me before we settled on the perfect fit and design.
– What’s your professional background? Do you have experience in retail?
I don’t know if I should answer this, but I am a roof tiler by trade, a mummy, and I do all the farm accounts. I’ve got no retail experience, I just like to shop. I’m very hands on and determined once I have an idea in my head.
– How have the preorders been going so far?
I had a very small budget and the market research that I did proved that navy would be the biggest seller. However expanding that research show black is, so we opened that line up to pre-order. If things go well and I can expand to Australia and sell 50 percent of each stocked item, I will run the grey.
– Can you explain for our readers what ‘Pay as you wear’ is?
You pay a 50% percent deposit upfront and get given the boots straight away. Then over the next two months you pay the remaining 50 percent. But I’m a small business and can be pretty flexible.
– You mentioned on Facebook that this option had been established in response to demand. What were customers asking for?
People were asking for flexible payment options and I searched what I could do to get the product to them straight away.
– What do you think are the drivers behind this demand? Layby isn’t fast enough?
I think people want product straight away – we aren’t in the business of waiting anymore. Which, to me, is fine. As long as I am able to help I will.
– Are you confident about your stock levels and back-end systems?
I think that I have just done the best that I could do under the circumstances. Manufacturers have minimum orders so you are restricted by them and budget.
– Are you interested in retail stockists or happy to handle it all yourself?
We have two stockists in Christchurch, one in Wellington and are working on one in Auckland and Melbourne. I think it’s about getting the right fit.
– Are there plans to branch out from thigh-highs anytime soon?
I have had a play with some ankle boots, however, we will see. I just need to concentrate on the now.
– What is it about thigh-highs that you like?
Honestly, I just feel super cool. It’s hard with young kids and being on a farm, you don’t get to walk out the house feeling sexy, in control and amazing. To me, they tick all the boxes.
– Tell us about the Chrystal Chenery connection. What does she add to Bozzy Boots?
Chrystal and I met through mutual friends. I got talking about Bozzy. She just seemed so excited, full of ideas and contacts to help me grow my business. She wasn’t out for anything but to help me grow my business and use me as some hands-on experience which, obviously, I am thrilled about. Chrystal helps me with the marketing side, new ideas and contacts.
– Can you share an anecdote or story about working with Chrystal?
Haha, yes. My husband came home in the middle of a costume change when we were shooting. Muz was a little red-faced.
– Is there a wildest-dreams-type vision you have for Bozzy Boots? What would ultimate success with this product look like to you?
To be recognised worldwide as a fashion statement and a quality product renowned for its fit and style. For Bozzy to be accepted in stores thoughout NZ, UK, USA, and Australia. Lastly for a worldwide shopping site like Asos or The Iconic to pick us up as the latest label! But that’s all wildest dreams.