This month Prowler Soho is celebrating its 20th anniversary and last Saturday kicked off a whole month of events and special offers to mark the birthday with a drinks afternoon with some sexy models. Senior buyer, Head of Retail Mark Phillips told us how much has changed at Prowler over the last 20 years and about their plans for the future.
How has the store changed over the last 20 years?
The store has changed enormously to follow the needs of the Prowler customer. We’ve increased floor space for underwear, gifts, sex toys, fetish wear and tees, and reduced R18 movies, which played a major part of the business at the beginning.
What have been the changing shopping trends in that time?
The changing shopping trends have been based on Prowler customers’ needs and requirements. Our customers are very important to us and we like to be supportive of their requirements. We have tried to work closely with independent authors, artists and provide a platform to show off what they can do with our support like Tom Taylor Illustrated and Bobobear.
Can you tell us what your top five selling products are now?
Our top five selling products are Jungle Juice Aroma Extra Strong Tonic, Liquid Silk, aussieBum Classic Brief, Tom Taylor Illustrated Gagged Tee and Curbwear Crown Range of vests, trunks, jockstraps and briefs.
The shop is under new ownership, who are the new owners and what are their plans?
The owners are a well-established adult trade business called ABS Holdings who have over 20 stores UK and a distribution network worldwide, including four online businesses. Their plans are to support Prowler in being the best gay business in Europe. They value the brand and have been immensely supportive throughout the structural changes.
Do you have any special offers in store for the anniversary month?
Post a selfie and tag Prowler and you will receive 20% in-store. Get two pairs of underwear from the Curbwear Chelsea range for £20 plus a 20th Anniversary pack competition. Win over £500 worth of sex toys consisting of Fleshjack, Electrastim, Rocksoff, Bel Ami by signing up with an email. Spend £50 and you will automatically be signed up to win 20 pairs of Bluebuck underwear.
Will you be doing anything special for Pride in London weekend?
We will join the festivities by joining in with our customers and dressing up. We will have drinks, models in underwear helping our customers enjoy their visit to Prowler and hopefully give them the best time.
Can you tell us about a couple of your personal favourite items from the shop?
My favourite items from the shop are too many to mention. I love brands like aussieBu, Addicted, Pump, Curbwear, Bluebuck, Tom Taylor Illustrated, Bobobear and the list goes on. I love what we do and I love our store teams they are amazing and have worked tirelessly through some of the most difficult times over the last year. We have so much more exciting times ahead and with our team we can achieve anything.
Why do you think Prowler is so important to gay London and gay Soho?
This is a difficult one to answer. This is a question that would need to be asked of our customers. My thoughts would be that we are living in difficult times and we need to be supportive of each other. Together we are strong. We are nothing without our customers and I want to ensure that we do our level best to look after our customers and be supportive of their needs and provide them with an environment that is free of attitude. The last year has made this quite difficult by not having key lines that our regular customers needed and therefore not able to give the best care and attention they should get. We are now starting a very exciting phase and I want us to be able to always be there for any feedback good or bad so we keep improving.