My feature this month is with the inspirational Jobie Chalfin the CEO and Founder of Chalfin Boxers, a fabulous person behind a fabulous brand (and one to keep following no doubt about that). I met Jobie through a mutual friend a year or so ago but it feels we have been friends a great deal longer, she has a fantastic energy and warmth of personality that infiltrates into her brand’s persona too. This is one company that is certainly working hard at bringing back a buzz to clothing made on British shores and I had the pleasure to catch up with Jobie recently to ask her a few questions about her journey and experience to date.
Tell us a little bit about Chalfin? The boxer shorts are manufactured in the U.K by a very niche company who have a strong belief in producing quality over quantity. They have a sleek inner lining to gently hug a chap where he needs it most to give both comfort and style. They are superbly tailored and designed here in the U.K and constructed form the finest cotton with a hidden ‘hammock’ in super soft jersey.
Was there anything in particular that motivated you to start your own business?
Having a lot of boy mates and a very fussy brother, we often used to chat in general about various things, one of them being boxer shorts. They preferred the look of cotton boxer shorts but missed a little bit of support. This was a light bulb moment for me and I set offon my journey to make a cotton boxer with a subtle support. I was fortunate to have lots of volunteers to give them a ‘test run.’ After a year we finally got there!
You make a big reference to the British heritage of the brand, how does that help the business?
Consumers perceive value in the quality of British made products. I am also very patriotic and I want to support our manufacturing industry.
Where do you see your brand in 4 year’s time?
Someone makes me offer I can’t refuse for the business, I can retire, go on lots of ski and beach holidays. In all honesty I want guys to really enjoy wearing Chalfin boxer shorts and keep coming back for more thus creating a household brand.
If you could go back and talk to yourself starting out, what 3 bits of advice would you share?
Don’t do it… Just joking! But, I never realised just how hard it would be. Don’t have too much stock made up on your first couple of orders. And to not take things to heart when people are pulling your product apart, learn from it and move on it.
If your brand was a make of car what would it be?
Bentley… British, stylish with ultimate comfort.
Do you see the brand expanding into new products or staying as a specialist in men’s boxers?
I’d like to do loungewear next for men but for the time being I’m sticking with the boxer shorts.
Do you have a perfect major retailer you would like to be listed in?
I’d love to be stocked in Liberty’s or Selfridges…one day!
What tips help you get through your working day and week?
You are going to have your good and bad days and it’s those bad days when you question yourself to why you are doing this. That’s when I pick up the phone and talk to one of my other friends who have businesses and get the advice I need to give me that boost again.
Business is tough; if it was easy everyone would be doing it.
Networking is all-important. I have learnt so much from others and made some good friends along the way.
Work life balance – is it achievable in a start up on your own? What do you do about it?
I think so but you never really switch. I think I’ve been fortunate to have been brought up in a family where my parents have always had their own businesses and now my brother so I’ve learnt a lot from them.
Would you do it all over again?
Absolutely, I love what I’m doing and even though it is really tough I wouldn’t change it for the world.
You can see more of Jobie’s products on the website at www.chalfin.co.uk
BY ROBERT HALLMARK CEO GRUHME