Business & Investment

Boohoo Chief Carol Kane: “I’m the right person to end the shame of the factory.”

When Boohoo chief Carol Kane faces a wave of investor anger, she says:

Mission: Carol Kane is “rebuilding” the DNA of a brand she knows well

Carol Kane does a job that most fashion retailers can only dream of. Boohoo’s co-founder and executive secretary is busy returning some of the most famous high street brands to good health after a series of retail failures.

From Principles to Karen Millen, many of them are the brands she shopped for in the 1980s. Kane spent months rewiring the “brand DNA” of Warehouse, Oasis and Dorothy Perkins and approved a new advertising campaign for Debenhams last Thursday.

Fresh from a trip to Florence, an Italian fashion hotspot, to meet new suppliers this weekend, she forced her to quarantine for several days to organize her “dressing room” at her home in Staffordshire. Of her ongoing home renovation project.

Without the very general criticism that could erupt again this week in a controversial vote at Boohoo’s annual meeting, it would all sound idyllic. Shareholder Advisory Board Glass Lewis told investors her as a board member following last year’s allegations that Boohoo did not act fast enough to eradicate the poor working conditions of Leicester’s suppliers. He urged him to prevent his reappointment.

The company has put a lot of effort into drawing a line under the turmoil. He invited Allison Levitt QC to investigate, then retired Judge Brian Lebeson to continue his work, and even the former police chief “legally” investigated its supply base.

Kane’s position on the board is eased by a block vote from the Kamani family, who owns more than a quarter of Bhufu’s stake. Jupiter, the largest institutional shareholder of 9%, is also planning to help her, sources said.

However, some institutions may automatically vote in line with Glass Lewis’s position. One city source said the ongoing criticism did not reflect efforts to make the right mistakes and did not consider Kane’s important role in activating a bunch of discolored brands. Kane said: “What we’re doing now isn’t just regular factory audits. We’re at the forensic level. We’ve exposed our factories and discovered fraud. This is never seen in factory audits. That is, we have cleaned up our manufacturing base not only for us, but for everyone else in the industry who wants to take advantage of it. It’s an eternal move. ”

She admits that she was “humiliated” in last year’s scandal.

But she claims that while many retailers are “frightened”, Boohoo will become the “champion” of Leicester makers. She describes the push to keep her from sitting: But it doesn’t really help the industry.I myself Mahmood [Kamani co-founder and executive chairman] And John [Lyttle, chief executive] The team that is doing this right. But how confident is Boohoo that the new process is watertight? “Because of the process, it’s now difficult for them to do it, but people are creative,” she says. “Once they find a way around our system, we need to keep strengthening our system. We are taking them on a new journey. They are important to us. I understand that you are a good player-the size and scale we have-and if they don’t follow the rules, they will be exposed and it will be very visible.

Kane allows her to go “100 mph” despite her comprehensive creative role in each brand, from fashion design to marketing. She says:’I think I’ve become a guardian on the team. I look at the DNA of each brand and make it valuable. We keep each brand team on their own floor and do not cross-pollinate. ”

Kane says he has a significant share of Gucci and Louis Vuitton, but prefers to wear black skinny jeans and shirts in the office. “It’s funny, people who work in fashion are relatively conservative in their clothes.”

And that’s the high street she knows best. “I knew the brand very well [when we acquired them] And they probably knew more about what they represented than their recent owners. I was the girl who shopped for them. Now I have the opportunity to bring them back to their former glory and relate them to online-only businesses.

She says it includes an education team looking for popular sellers on Boohoo’s sophisticated “test and repeat” model.

She adds: “The middle market has been really struggling in recent years, but it still exists and I’m the woman. I’m at work. I need something more specialized to wear at work. Go out Sometimes it’s a little more expensive. ”

While in Florence and nearby Prato, she met a quality supplier to help her mission to improve the brand. She adds: “We were also discussing with them what sustainability can do.” Sustainable fashion? Is there a contradiction for one of Britain’s most successful fast fashion giants? “No, I don’t believe it at all,” Kane counterattacks. “We are considering growing our own cotton so that we can go from the farm to the factory. It is a major change in the large organizations that have to take responsibility for the fashion it produces. It is a part.

“I don’t throw anything in the trash. Some high street stuff, like Topshop and Miss Selfridge, have been around for 10 to 15 years.” She says fashion and sustainability are “not necessarily closely related.” I’m not doing that. ” Boohoo’s business model has been heavily driven by £ 5 tops and £ 10 jeans that appear to be barely designed in the long run.

But she explains:’There was no such request [for sustainable fashion] In the last few years. But I think that has changed in the last 12 months. Maybe with people working from home, they wore more cotton and natural fibers, and they were thinking a little more about it.But I think there was more noise [about environment issues] Generally in the news. ”

Most importantly, perhaps the next generation seems to be driving change. “There is a great deal of motivation from influencers who want to work with sustainable brands, which tells me that the ocean is about to change.”


Boohoo Chief Carol Kane: “I’m the right person to end the shame of the factory.” Boohoo Chief Carol Kane: “I’m the right person to end the shame of the factory.”

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