BOSSES behind a digital marketing firm have added another string to their bow after entering the ladies’ underwear sector.

Graduates Mark Blacklee and Jonathan Cook have turned the former Boudoir lingerie store into an online venture.

The duo run Curo Marketing, based in Darlington, but have taken on the separate endeavour with the ambition of using their digital skills to bolster Boudoir’s marketplace presence.

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The undertaking has already attracted customers from around the globe.

However, bosses have told The Northern Echo they aim to take on the more established high-end market players, such as Harrods and John Lewis.

Boudoir, also based in Darlington, was run by Jacqui Corney for a number of years.

The shop closed at the end of July, but Boudoir quickly transitioned online after it was taken on by Mr Blacklee and Mr Cook.

The outlet has been converted into The Wandering Duck café, but Mr Blacklee and Mr Cook’s intervention means the Boudoir name remains.

Although admitting the duo, who both studied networking at Teesside University’s Darlington campus, knew nothing about lingerie, Mr Blacklee said their undertaking has been worthwhile, confirming Mrs Corney remains involved to provide invaluable practical advice and support.

He said: “Going online, we have to be as accessible as we can, and the biggest thing for us at the start was how do we keep the existing customers and still serve them?

“But we have got all of the stock and are still doing fittings.

“The biggest challenge is getting the stock in so we can go against the bigger operators and we are making sure we pick the right lines and the right styles.

“Our competition is not the store similar to what Boudoir was in Bristol or Norfolk, for example, we are not looking at them.

“The competition is the likes of Harrods and John Lewis.

“It’s been a learning curve and it can be confusing when the reps come out and they are talking in code too.”

Mr Blacklee also said he was delighted to see Boudoir’s former home continue to be successful in its new guise.

He said: “Some customers still come to The Wandering Duck and ask for Boudoir, and the staff have been able to point people in the right direction to us.

“We sometimes get a phone call saying there’s someone in reception wanting a bra fitting, but Jacqui has steered us through it all.

“The café has proven to be a big hit with Boudoir customers, who are enjoying the transformation that 15 Grange Road has gone through.”

Running a lingerie business is a world away from the traditional work overseen by Curo, which is based in The Imperial Centre, on Darlington’s Grange Road, just a stone’s throw away from The Wandering Duck.

The company is a Google partner and delivers support to businesses to improve their online presence.

Its clients include Darlington fashion store Leggs and Redcar’s Inshore Fisheries, and Mr Blacklee said that experience will hold it in good stead with Boudoir.

He added: “We are actively looking to get more new customers with Boudoir and are confident for the future.”