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Interview with Tony Oppe, Chairman, Pixi

We talk to Tony Oppe, Chairman of Pixi, in celebration of our 25 years in Carnaby. He and his wife Petra, who created the brand, chose Carnaby as they wanted Pixi to be at the heart of London in an area with authenticity, soul and personality.


1. Can you tell us a bit about Pixi?

We launched Pixi, the company, in 1999 with the opening of our boutique. We call it a boutique because it’s more than a shop - it’s an experience for women (and men) to come and receive a little pampering. It’s also our flagship store.

Petra, my wife, owner, entrepreneur, product developer and mother is the face and creator of the brand. Her mission has always been to introduce a way that busy women could look their best in a few simple steps at an affordable cost. 


2. What led to how you started in Carnaby and why did you chose the Foubert’s Place location?

The area was and still is one of the few areas left in central London with genuine authenticity, soul and unique personality. We wanted to be in the heart of London surrounded by this character and genuineness and with all the fashion magazines, business women and enablers in close proximity to help us receive recognition on a slim budget.

Our first location was in Ganton Street next door to The Great Frog. Within a year, we were offered Fouberts Place - a larger, better located position which has remained our global flagship boutique ever since, receiving visitors from all over the world.

We opened during London Fashion Week on 11 Sept 1999. The then CEO of Sephora USA, The Beauty Editor from Harpers Bazaar and the beauty buyer from New York’s famous Department Store Henri Bendel, to name a few, all came in during our first few days.

As bricks and mortar is not our prime business, the boutique has served many purposes other than just sales. Over the years it has become a destination location for all our followers. It’s a place where anyone who knows Pixi gets the brand immediately on entering. Our loyal customers get pampered and educated in all things Pixi.


3. How do you feel the Pixi store and wider location have evolved over time?

The area has blossomed over time and restored some of the original pedigree of the 60’s when Carnaby Street became the height of trend and fashion worldwide. It’s a place where new brands and established brands can base their flagship store and where customers can go to find something unique and different to the High Street or Shopping Mall. The streets are small and most stores are a size that is not overwhelming.

Also, we now have two offices within 50 meters of the boutique. Our staff love being in the area where there is so much so discover. The restaurants, cafes and bars give the area another dimension which is so useful for lunch hours and after work. Having our office close to the boutique is incredibly useful for many obvious reasons.


4. Why do you think Pixi has been successful in the location? What are the main benefits?

Carnaby is a centre for business, fashion, tourists and all types of visitors. Having the store in its current location without moving for 22+ years has served two purposes. It’s a destination store for loyal customers to repeat visit and it’s a discovery store for customers wishing to find something new and not so widely available.


5. What is your relationship like with the community? How would you describe the Carnaby community in three words?

A bustling village within a city.


6. And how would you describe your relationship with the team at Shaftesbury?

We have always had a flexible, understanding and productive relationship. I have had lunches with Simon. We even met in LA when he visited and we were living in California. We exchange ideas and we enjoy a mutual passion for football of varying shades of blue.


7. What are a few of your favourite memories about the store and the village over the years?

The start has always had the fondest memories. Building out the store on a shoe string. Buying mirrors, bar stools and other bits and pieces to deck it out. Coming up with phrases to stick on the windows while we prepare to open, one of which is now intrinsic part of our DNA: “I just want to look like I have had a good night’s sleep”.