THE founder of Boden is to give a talk in Bridport.

Johnnie Boden will talk about Ten Things I have Learnt in Business and Life at the LSi on Thursday, July 25 from 7.30pm.

Johnnie founded Boden in 1991 with eight menswear products, sold through a catalogue hand-drawn on his kitchen table.

As ambitious as he was, he couldn’t have imagined that the fashion line bearing his name would become a multi-million-pound global business producing a huge range of clothes for every member of the family.

The success of the business – which last year chalked up 2.5 million customers worldwide and sales of more than £350 million – is all the more impressive given that Johnnie started out with no fashion training. He had, however, spent much of his teens hunting down vintage tweed overcoats and Converse high-tops in Portobello Road, and cut his teeth as men’s fashion editor of Harpers & Queen’s teenage edition in August 1977.

After graduating from Oxford, Johnnie fell into a job as stockbroker. An overseas posting to New York in 1988 opened his eyes to how well Americans operated in the mail-order market for top-quality basics – and, more importantly, how the UK was failing to compete.

Miserable in the City, and with the support of his wife Sophie, he set about creating a brand that gave customers in the UK – and later, beyond – what they wanted: accessible, beautifully made, original products with a witty British edge.

“I’m as ambitious now as I was when I started the business 25 years ago” says Johnnie Boden. “Life for me means never being bored. If life isn’t about embracing and enjoying change, what is it about? We need to be more brave and break down more doors.”

More than just a brand, Boden represents a lifestyle: a nostalgic British ideal of fun, family and day-seizing (preferably outdoors), with a one-stop shop delivering quality, colour and effortless style.

As the business grew and crossed oceans to the US in 2007, the original talents behind its success could reasonably have rested on their laurels. But Johnnie recognised the need to create a new vision for the future – to evolve with today’s tech-savvy, fashion-astute customers.

Ever ‘the enemy of ordinary’, Johnnie is now pushing the company to new highs. He’s developing the brand across multi-media platforms to communicate with a new customer who wants an immediate Boden hit. And he’s encouraging his designers to create modern looks that remain faithful to Boden’s special brand of British quirkiness. In 2017, Boden opened its first central London flagship shop on the King’s Road, adding Westfield to the portfolio in 2018 and with further shops set to open in 2019. Boden’s stylish range of clothing and accessories are available to buy via catalogue in the UK, USA, Germany, France, Australia and Austria, and online - trading in more than 60 countries with more than 1000 employees across all markets.

*Johnnie Boden, Ten Things I have Learnt in Business and Life, Thursday, July 25, 7.30pm (doors 6.45pm). There will be a Q&A session afterwards. All proceeds from this event will go towards the development of the LSI Reg Charity No; 1137231

Tickets cost £15 and are available from LSi Alembic Canteen, Bridport Tourist Information and Eventbrite