Who we are - where we are and what we are...
Based in the South West of England, we are the online retail company Crysalis Ltd now trading as Essili.com. We started in 2006, so we have been online for over ten years.
We are a small family run business that believes in being the best, providing a range of beautiful, high-quality products backed by the best possible customer service.
When we started in 2006, we had four brands, Lola Luna, Luxxa, Comet and Diki Lingerie. Now we have multiple brands ranging from high end made to measure silk lingerie to practical everyday underwear ready to ship to you straight away.
We sell lingerie, nightwear and swimwear over the web. We also have a few accessories, but those are a very small part of our range which now amounts to over a thousand different garments. We do not have a physical shop, but we do sell our products worldwide. Right from the start, we wanted to offer something really special, great quality and great design. So we have for the most part avoided the large mass produced products and gone instead for the niche, designer and European produced lingerie which will not necessarily be easy to find on the high street.
In July 2015 we rebranded Ever-so-Sexy as Essili and merged our other lingerie site, Loves-Lingerie.
Things change.... more brands and lots and lots of everyday undies and we began to think that our name limited what we could offer and did not accurately describe all that we had to offer. But finding a new name was much more difficult than we could ever have anticipated. Nearly three years of searching and playing our own version of Scrabble and at last we found Essili. No one else had invented it and the .com and .co.uk versions were available. It was short and sweet. Easy to remember and type and it even had a little echo of our old domain in the first three letters. Behind the scenes, Ever-so-sexy had long been called ESS almost from day one. So in May 2015, we made the scary decision to rebrand our main site. By June 2015 the new site was live and ready for the transfer at the end of July.
In May 2013 we moved our business premises to a building that was apparently a dairy many years ago. No milk-maids here any more just nice cool storerooms in which to hold our stock and easy access for deliveries. Previously we were up a very narrow Cornish lane and the delivery drivers bringing stock must have dreaded delivering to us.
How we started...
Crysalis was formed at the end of August 2006 and our first website started trading in October 2006. It was formed by and is still run today by Gill Fernandez. Gill has wide business experience in technology sales and finance but, as she admits, her lingerie experience was restricted to her own wardrobe and the gifts she received from her partner, John. In 2001 redundancy hit when the UK semiconductor distributor where Gill worked as a sales manager was taken over by a US rival. It did not take long for the US company to shed itself of the UK staff, business sites etc., and after a depressing job hunt during which Gill discovered that the 13 years she had spent in semiconductors had taken her into an age group that was no longer attractive to employers, she found herself back in the world of finance. But it was not a happy landing place and only a son at university and therefore still dependent kept Gill in what was a very miserable position. But from adversity sometimes comes inspiration and by the time her son had left university, Gill was already planning her escape from an unhappy job role!
It was a very pragmatic decision to go into lingerie sales. Gill wanted a product that could be sold over the internet, something light to post and small to store. From a short list of various products, lingerie was chosen.
Back in 2006, there were not so many online lingerie stores. In the UK, Fig Leaves was only a few years old and Be Cheeky (now no longer with us) was only a few months into its existence and Amazon still mostly sold books. There were a few other niche lingerie sites but nowhere near the thousands of lingerie sites, there are today.
Having decided on the product, Gill then went on to decide that we would offer high end, luxury and sexy lingerie. She approached one UK designer of made to measure silk lingerie, Diane Rubach, who agreed to allow her beautiful garments to be offered on the site. Two French sexy brands were also approached, Lola Luna and Luxxa and came on board. For everyday underwear, Gill contacted an Italian brand, Comet, and that completed the initial line up of brands. So with a spare bedroom as a storeroom, we began trading in October 2006 just in time for the first Christmas rush.
The interim years
From those initial four brands, we expanded rapidly. Hunting down some very new designers including Sonata Lingerie and Kiss me Deadly and luxury brands such as Coemi who were unknown in the UK. Some brands have come and gone while others have stayed. Lola Luna, Coemi and Luxxa have become best sellers. Luxury nightwear is now a major sales segment for the company and now includes three established designers, Diane Rubach, Jane Woolrich and Liliana Casanova. As for that first designer brand, Diki by Diane Rubach, we now offer some exclusive designs which are not available anywhere else on the web.
The website has undergone two major redesigns and is always under review as we strive to improve our customer's shopping experience. Crysalis is still a small company and each and every customer is important to us. We specialise in providing individual attention for each customer. The aim is to put our customers first. To offer what they like or need at a competitive price and to continually refresh the offering so that our customers will never be bored.
Changes in 2014
We have already mentioned our move to the old dairy. We moved in at the end of May 2013. After the necessary renovation work was complete we moved the stock in on the second Friday afternoon in June. In that way, we were able to continue shipping customer orders without a break. However, in June 2014 we decided to move again. This time it was more about the way the business is moving forward in the next few years than a need for space. Our delivery people will not be pleased to find we are once more up a narrow Cornish lane, but the change will allow us to focus more on luxury product and customer care, two elements of our business that have always been foremost in all our planning.
The main focus in the first half of 2014 has been to improve the user experience for visitors. After two site redesigns and almost constant expansion of product types and styles, we had ended up with a complex site with a navigation system that had become far too complicated. As of June we removed most of the mega menus in the top navigation and created the main side menu with easy to understand titles where most products are only one or two clicks away. This improvement is very much a work in progress. Further refinements are planned for the main menu to make it even easier to find the items you seek. The top navigation bar is also due for further review with a plan to put vital information about delivery, sizes, terms and privacy just one click away.
Mobile site launched in May 2014.
The site design works well on tablets and desktops but there was a need for a simpler layout for those people who want to view product and place orders from their smartphone. As of May 2014, the website has a mobile site option to meet the needs of smartphone users.