Wednesday, 12 June 2013

If I were a brand...

We often ask who brands would be if they came to life, but who would you be if you became a brand?

My answer gives me an excuse to say Happy Birthday to one of my new favourites in terms of brands: Cath Kidston. Having been out the UK for 17 years now, I have missed the "Coming Up Roses" success of the brand at first hand, but it never fails to catch my eye on visits to the UK.

Whether it's Ingvar Kamprad, Anita Roddick or Steve Jobs, there are some brand founders who are as necessary to a brand's being as marmite is to toast. Cath Kidston's early life had a profound influence on the direction her business took. There a few parallels with mine. She's a little bit older than me and a rung or two higher on the class ladder, but we share a 1960s Home Counties childhood - and there's aviation in her blood, too. As well as a love for fox terriers.

Cath spent her childhood surrounded by chintz sofas and egg-blue wallpaper with rosebuds - and maybe even had cowboys on her bunk bed mattress, as my brother and I had.

The success of her brand is due to having the right concept at the right turn. The idea of Modern Vintage came into its own as the century approached its turn. Cath has been very clever in using inspiration from the past to create products for today. Her vision is "to create practical, everyday useful things that make you smile. To design prints that are colourful, cheery and evoke a sense of nostalgia and fun."

20 years after she first registered her company, Cath Kidston has 59 stores and concessions in the UK and Ireland and 54 internationally (mainly Japan and the Far East.)

That's enough to make anyone cheery!

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