Boardies®, a privately owned, London-based business that designs, manufactures and sells distinctive swimwear products around the world, has been honoured with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2021.

The brand, which was launched in 2014 by Nick Crook (a former Levi’s, K-Swiss, Reebok and Pentland Brands executive), has successfully negotiated the challenges of Covid-19, pivoting to a direct to consumer strategy, resulting in a six-fold increase in online sales.

Despite the pandemic and its restrictions on travel and holidays, Boardies® products have continued to sell to customers around the world, especially in the USA, Canada, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. This success in developing international markets has helped Boardies® to trade through the pandemic and earned the company the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2021.

Nick Crook, founder of Boardies®, said: “For Boardies® to be recognised by the Queen through this award is a great honour, and reflects our success in exporting our uniquely designed swimwear to markets around the world. For a brand that is usually reliant on sales through physical retailers to people going on holidays, the last 12 months have been tough. But we managed to ride those waves by pivoting to a more digital and direct to consumer strategy, which has seen our online sales increase significantly. Boardies® is set to have a record year in 2021.”

Boardies® Team: Winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2021

An increased focus on digital has put Boardies® into a strong position coming out of lockdown: online sales in 2021 are double the same period in 2020 and six times greater than 2019, with overall 2021 sales forecast to increase by 30% and heading towards £1.5m.

Paul Alger MBE, International Business Director of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, said: “From the outset, it was obvious to all of us at UKFT that Boardies® was going to be a huge success. Nick’s charming enthusiasm, great eye for design, colour and photography is a great asset. Add to these a great concept, a solid business acumen, lots of hard work and sheer determination and you have a successful British brand now sold worldwide in some of the most exclusive and best stores around the globe, plus a thriving online business.”

Now in its 55th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years.