How to Create a Successful Lingerie Business


‘Run by women, made by women, to empower women’ – Something Wicked really does stick by its mantra from start to finish. With a talented team of seamstresses alongside her, who handmake the lingerie from the most sumptuous of materials, Steff McGrath is at the forefront of Something Wicked. The luxurious brand specialises in beautiful boudoir lingerie and is based in Leeds, with a strong Yorkshire heritage.


Steff, Managing Partner, knew that Something Wicked would be an exciting journey as soon as she was introduced to the brand, and couldn’t wait to be involved. With a background in marketing, Steff already had experience with how brands work and their strategies, which she finds helpful in running the business side of Something Wicked. With an appreciation of beautiful lingerie and entrepreneurial spirit, she became the Managing Partner in 2016 and has been empowering women to be bold, beautiful and seductive ever since.


After seeing the rise of fast fashion in recent years, and the ethical consequences of cheap clothing production, Steff is a strong believer in the Fashion Revolution Movement and ensures that Something Wicked is manufactured entirely within the UK. By doing this, she ensures that Something Wicked is manufactured in a completely ethical and sustainable environment.


Each individual piece of lingerie is handmade from start to finish by a team of seamstresses in an old converted mill in the heart of the Yorkshire textile industry. Anything not made in the studio in Leeds is still manufactured in the UK. The striking accessories are handmade by a female saddler in St Albans and the leather polish, which has 100% natural ingredients, is exclusively made for the brand by an award-winning London beekeeper. Even the luxury gift boxes are sourced from an ethical UK-based packaging company.


Steff has learnt a lot about how to run a successful lingerie business throughout her Something Wicked journey and is keen to share her top tips:


No. 1: If you really believe in something then don’t be afraid to go for it.


Provenance is something I feel strongly about. I’m proud that our customers can trace their clothing’s journey all the way back to where it started. I built the brand on my beliefs which have become an important part of Something Wicked’s identity.


The motivation behind Something Wicked is to empower women and encourage them to express themselves and explore their every desire. I honestly believe that a beautiful set of lingerie can act as a woman’s under armour, inspiring her to be confident and take control, whether that’s in the bedroom or in the boardroom. We use the highest quality of luxurious materials ranging from intricate, French Chantilly lace to soft, Japanese plonge leather and believe that a woman shouldn’t just look amazing, she should feel amazing and be body confident.


I want women to feel incredible and self-assured in our lingerie, which is why we ensure that the design process is as creative as possible, to inspire imagination. We work with locally-based designers and garment technicians, giving them free-reign to focus on the design without restrictions, and then cost it up afterwards.


No.2: It’s not just about creating beautiful lingerie, you have to have business acumen.


Each individual piece of lingerie we produce has so many different individual elements to consider. For example, one of our more complex pieces might have over 20 different elements including metal hardware, elastics and material. If any of the different details are delayed in getting to us it can have a knock-on effect and delay the production process. I’m constantly having to do inventories to make sure we’re not running low on any of our stock items.


No. 3: Make use of your talents.


My background in marketing is definitely helpful in the day to day running of Something Wicked as I’m able to confidently go out to market and meet stockists by myself. I’m an entrepreneurial person, having previously owned a business selling colourful playmat jigsaws for children. I sold this business to a company who were looking to grow their portfolio of toys, however before selling up, I learnt a lot about how to run a successful business which helps immensely when managing the profitability and growth of Something Wicked.