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The Demise of Figleaves: What Went Wrong?

Overview of Figleaves

Figleaves was an online retailer specializing in lingerie, swimwear, nightwear, and sports apparel. With millions of products from over 200 brands, the company was widely known for its excellent product offering and exceptional customer services.

Unfortunately, in 2019, the company announced that it would shut down its operations, citing declining interest in the services it offered. While many customers were devastated by the news, Figleaves had to reevaluate its operations, streamline its businesses, and boost growth in other areas.

What is Figleaves? Figleaves was founded in 1998 as a small startup with a focus on offering high-quality lingerie products to women of all sizes.

Over the years, the company expanded its product offering to include men’s clothing, nightwear, swimwear, and sports apparel. Figleaves quickly gained a reputation as a one-stop-shop for trendy lingerie and had significant partnerships with the leading brands in the industry.

Products offered

Figleaves offered a wide range of products in the clothing industry; lingerie was its specialty. They had a significant collection of bras, knickers, and hosiery.

The store also stocked an extensive range of nightwear, including robes, pajamas, and nightgowns. For athletes, customers could find sports bras, leggings, and shorts.

Additionally, they also offered a unique range of men’s clothing, including underwear, t-shirts, and swimwear. The company also provided shapewear, maternity lingerie, and plus-size lingerie products, catering to female customers of all sizes.

Brands and Content

Figleaves had several partnerships with some of the world’s leading clothing brands, including Birkenstock, Calvin Klein, Puma, and Spanx. These partnerships allowed them to offer high-quality products that appealed to their customers’ unique tastes and preferences.

Additionally, they had an extensive range of style guides on their websites with expert advice on how to wear the products. They also offered a bra measuring service, where customers could measure themselves from the comfort of their homes and receive recommendations on the best bra size for their needs.

Global Reach

Figleaves operated in over 100 countries, with U.S. based consumers accounting for a significant portion of their customer base. They had a dedicated website for US-based consumers, providing a localized shopping experience.

The company was also successful in expanding into international markets, with a particular focus on Europe, where they established a considerable customer base.

Reason for


Despite its initial success, the company faced increasing competition from other retailers. Additionally, declining interest in the company’s operations and services forced Figleaves to reevaluate its operations.

In 2019, they announced that they would be shutting down their services and focusing on other areas of growth. While many customers were disappointed, the company’s decision represented a necessary step towards streamlining their businesses and focusing on growth.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Figleaves was an online retailer specializing in lingerie, swimwear, nightwear, and sports apparel. The company gained a reputation for its excellent product offering, partnerships with leading brands, and exceptional customer services.

Despite its initial success, declining interest in its operations and growing competition from other retailers forced Figleaves to shut down their services in 2019. Although many customers were disappointed, the company’s decision reflected a necessary step towards streamlining their businesses and boosting growth in other areas.

What Happened to Figleaves? Figleaves was founded in 1998 by Daniel Nabarro and Michael Ross as Easyshop, an online lingerie retailer based in the UK.

With a unique focus on mens underwear, the company quickly gained popularity, and in 2000, it received its first funding round of 1.5m to expand into womens intimates. Over the years, the company grew under its four-figure target and attracted some of the biggest names in the industry, including Elle Macpherson, who launched her collection on the platform in 2002.

Innovation and Expansions

Figleaves continued to grow with innovative products such as the T-Bra system, which was designed to help women find the perfect bra fit. In 2003, the company launched in the US, where it received a warm reception, and by 2005, the company had signed a deal with Amazon, adding considerable revenue to their operations.

In 2006, Figleaves announced that it had received 13m in funding from Balderton Capital, which allowed them to expand their operations, hire high-level executives, and achieve their first annual profit.

Changes in Leadership and Strategy

However, despite their initial success, Figleaves faced significant challenges, including changes in leadership and strategy. In 2009, Michael Ross, the co-founder and then CEO, left the company, and Julia Reynolds took over as CEO.

Reynolds initiated some clean-up actions to reduce costs, including renegotiating supplier deals and refocusing the business on its core areas of strength, but struggled to make a significant impact. In 2010, N Brown, the Manchester-based fashion retailer, acquired Figleaves, investing an additional 11m into the business.

However, the following year, the company faced a significant setback after it launched a controversial ad campaign featuring semi-naked women with men drooling over them. The campaign faced backlash, with critics describing it as sexist, and the company apologized and pulled the ads.

Despite the efforts to revitalize the company, Figleaves continued to suffer from declining customer interest, and in 2018, Miriam Lahage was appointed as CEO to try and turn things around. However, it was too late, as competition from Instagram-focused DTC brands and established retailers such as ASOS continued to eat into their market share, resulting in a decline in website traffic.


In 2019, N Brown announced that it would be shutting down Figleaves as part of a cost-saving strategy to streamline their businesses and focus on their core brands. The company’s products were folded into their Simply Be brand, and some of their employees were transferred over.

The shutdown represented a significant blow to the lingerie industry, where Figleaves had been a major player for years. Why was Figleaves Shut Down?

The primary reason for the shutdown was declining customer interest and growing competition, which resulted in a decrease in website traffic and revenue. With Instagram-focused DTC brands taking center stage, Figleaves struggled to keep up, and established retailers such as ASOS posed a significant threat.

Additionally, N Brown’s focus on cost-saving measures and streamlining their businesses resulted in the Figleaves brand being folded into Simply Be, where it could have a better chance of success. While the shutdown was unfortunate for Figleaves fans, it represented a necessary step towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of N Brown’s operations.

In conclusion, Figleaves was once a popular online retailer that specialized in lingerie, swimwear, nightwear, and sports apparel. The company’s innovative products, excellent customer services, and partnerships with leading brands helped it to expand into the US and international markets.

However, competition from other retailers, declining customer interest, and N Brown’s focus on cost-saving measures eventually led to the company’s shutdown in 2019. The shutdown of Figleaves highlights the need for companies to adapt to changing market conditions, innovate, and streamline their operations to stay relevant and sustainable.

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