You might have never heard of Chrissie Rucker, but you’ve certainly heard of the company she founded.
In 1993, Chrissie was helping move her boyfriend (now husband) into his new apartment, and hating the furnishing. All she wanted was good quality white sheets – how was this so impossible to find?
She had just inherited £6000, and decided to put all of this into starting a business. And so, The White Company was formed. It started in said boyfriends bedroom as a 12 page catalogue mail-order business. The company made £258,000 in its first year. After about a year of being in business, she won the She/Midland Bank Small Business Award that gave her a much needed £5000 prize.
By 1996, The White Company has opened it’s first office and Chrissie becomes the youngest ever finalist for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Of The Year Awards.
Fast forward 10 years to 2006 and The White Company has over 500 employees, numerous stores – inlcuding the Sloane Street flagship – as well a range of spin offs including Little White Company (for children).
Another (almost) ten years on and employee numbers has reached 1000, they have over 50 stores (internationally) and have just launched their US website.
“Today, the company that began life as a 12-page mail order brochure has become one of the UK’s fastest growing multi-channel retailers. We love impeccably stylish products, principally in white – not traditional, not cutting edge, just beautifully designed, simple, elegant pieces. Timeless, yes, but with individuality and style. And, almost everything we sell is made exclusively for us”. – The White Company Website
She has grown a very successful brand and business, almost entirely herself over a steady 20 year period. She was 24 when she started the White Company, and continues to lead it today. She is one of the UK’s wealthiest business women and only looks to be moving up. She is a 99% stakeholder in the business (her husband is the other 1%).
Her husband is actually independently successful, being the founder and CEO of Charles Tyrwhitt – what a power couple huh?
She and her husband’s combined wealth is estimated at £295 million.
For a girl having left school at 16, she’s done pretty well. WCW all the way.