The Early Years
Theo was born in Cyprus. His family emigrated to Britain in the 1960s and he first showed his business skills at the tender age of 15 when he successfully ran his North London school’s tuck shop.
Theo’s first job was as an assistant with a Lloyds of London broker, before moving into retail when he was 18.
He then moved into property and corporate finance, setting up his own company at just 23.
Theo was Chairman of Millwall FC for eight years, taking the club out of administration, into the Championship (to the FA Cup Final opposite Manchester United) and into Europe.
He’s revived the fortunes of such notable retail brands as La Senza, Contessa Lingerie, Ryman the Stationers and Stationery Box.
He sold his interest in the La Senza UK and Contessa in 2006.
In 2008, he combined the stationery businesses to form a new chain, Ryman the Stationer where he is now Chairman.
Theo launched the highly innovative new lingerie and nightwear brand, Boux Avenue in spring 2011. There are 25 UK stores, three international ones and an interactive website (www.bouxavenue.com). The company continues to expand rapidly.
In July 2012, the 96-store homewares specialist chain, Robert Dyas joined Theo's retail portfolio. This means that across Ryman, Boux Avenue and Robert Dyas, the Theo Paphitis Retail Group comprises over 350 stores and over 4,000 employees who serve over 28 million customers a year.
The Paphitis Charitable Trust distributes Theo’s fees from TV appearances, speeches and his book to causes close to his heart, especially children’s charities.
With his 3,500 colleagues at Ryman & Robert Dyas, Theo has helped raise in excess of £3,000,000 for Comic Relief, a charity that Theo and the companies have supported for four years. As well as being an ambassador to the charity, Theo has also been appointed a Director.
TV Appearances and Book
Through his appearances on BBC TWO’s Dragons’ Den, Theo has advised many entrepreneurs and invested in several innovative businesses and brands.
He’s also fronted Theo’s Adventure Capitalists, where he followed the fortunes of brave and bold British companies trying to expand in three of the world's most dynamic emerging markets – India, Brazil and Vietnam.
Theo’s life story, Enter the Dragon, is published by Orion Books in paperback. It gives an insight into the thoughts and aspirations of one of the UK’s most popular entrepreneurs.
Theo lives in Surrey with his wife Debbie. They have five children and several grandchildren.
To find out more about Theo please visit the website here