Entrepreneur and Founder,
Small Business Sunday
Theo was born in Cyprus in 1959. His business empire spans retail, property, finance and consumer goods. Having left school at the age of 16 with no qualifications due to his dyslexia, he began work as a filing clerk in a Lloyds of London brokerage. Having realised very quickly that filing was not his forte, he left and took up a job working for Watches of Switzerland where he discovered his passion for retail. After several years the opportunity arose for Theo to return to insurance, in a more customer facing role, where he gained invaluable experience in finance and property. Returning to retail a few years later, he has revived the fortunes of notable high street names such as Ryman, Partners the Stationers, Stationery Box, La Senza, Contessa Lingerie and more recently the home and garden retailer Robert Dyas. Theo also bought Red Letter Days out of administration in 2005, with fellow TV Dragon Peter Jones, turning it around and selling in 2017. In the Spring of 2011 he also launched what has now become the multi award winning, global lingerie brand Boux Avenue. In 2015 Theo launched Theo Paphitis Retail Group which encompasses Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas, Boux Avenue and London Graphic Centre, acquired in 2016. The combined group comprises over 330 stores and 4,000 employees who serve over 28 million customers a year.