Richard Gold, James Gold and Lewis Blitz: SkinnyDip
This cheeky London firm has generated plenty of controversy with its daring accessories, but it’s also created a viral sensation
Richard Gold, 29, James Gold, 31 and Lewis Blitz, 31
The rise of SkinnyDip from a rundown Wembley warehouse to global ubiquity has prompted all manner of superlatives. It’s also generated a fair amount of expletives.
The company’s range of iPhone cases, bags, headphones and beauty products aren’t just edgy: they’ve jumped up the precipice, in a Thelma and Louise-style blaze of feminist glory. Their use of certain four-letter words and the rather suggestive “!!@#$!” hasn’t gone down well with certain sections of the mumsphere, but they’ve become a viral hit with teenage girls.
In fact the brand has sparked a frenzy on Instagram, and its fiery style even snared Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones. Yet the company’s three founders – brothers Richard and James Gold and their friend Lewis Blitz – decided to turn down Jones’ investment offer, and the decision has enabled them to grow very much on their own terms.
Blitz and the Gold brothers, who studied together at London’s Immanuel College and then Birmingham University, decided to start SkinnyDip because they thought there was a space for iPhone cases which were about form rather than mere function. They went to Hong Kong to seek advice from local factory-owners, and then pestered London retailers until a buyer at River Island agreed to see them.
The buyer agreed to take a small run, and the business has never looked back. The first base was a run-down warehouse in Wembley, yet now the founders have gone very much upmarket, finding a nest in the leafy London district of Primrose Hill.
Indeed SkinnyDip is now a must-have for teenage girls around the world, thanks largely to its concessions in Topshop as well as its boutiques in key locations including West Broadway in New York and Carnaby Street in London.
The ride has certainly been far from smooth. Type ‘SkinnyDip’ into Mumsnet and you’ll find plenty of people complaining about its choice of language. Then again, when the company used asterisks as fig leaves on an early mobile phone case with the slogan “Bitch, Please”, they were bombarded with abuse from their own customers, who wanted the profanity without moderation.
Yet despite the criticism, the brand continues to bristle with unapologetic feminist attitude and some of the world’s most iconic It-Girls including Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner have swooned over its sassiness. The brand might not be every mother’s cup of tea, but frankly the founders don’t give a !!@#$.