Lovehoney has been granted the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The accolade was given to Lovehoney for its outstanding achievements in international trade. Overseas sales for the company almost trebled last year from £4.5 million to £12 million following the launch of new websites for the French, German and Australian markets and customers paying in euros.
The award was granted 14 years to the day from when owners Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford started selling sex toys online from Richard’s bedroom in Bath. The company now has a turnover of £60m and employs more than 250 people all over the world.
Lovehoney will now be able to use the Queen’s Award royal emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years as a symbol of quality and success, and Longhurst and Slateford will be attending a reception held by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on July 14th.
Neil Slateford said: “It’s a huge privilege for Lovehoney to be honoured by the Queen. Official recognition from the Queen as she celebrates her 90th birthday shows just how far we have come as a company and how far sex toys have been embraced by mainstream shoppers. This award will help us to reach new markets and create more jobs both in Bath and in our global offices. The Queen is Britain’s greatest trade ambassador and consumers trust a brand with her patronage. Long may she reign over us.”
Profits at Lovehoney shot up 79% last year to £3.7m and it was highlighted as one of Britain’s 100 fastest growing private companies by the Sunday Times. The firm’s global expansion was boosted by winning the official licence to make all official Fifty Shades of Grey sex products four years ago, and it has developed several ranges with EL James, author of the trilogy.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The Queen’s Awards are a great way of celebrating the best of British business. We are a country full of exciting and innovative businesses that deserve to be celebrated. I’d like to commend all the winners for their hard work in creating jobs and driving our growing economy.”