Monday, 2 December 2013


Article taken from Bright Perspectives, Branding Consultants website, in order to gain further understanding of the aesthetics of the brand. I thought this article contextualises the brands simplicity as well, and explains the reasonings behind Kidston's choices.


By  : November 5, 2010
News that Cath Kidston, the eponymous business with colourful prints on everything, is worth around £75m is very interesting news. The growth of this retail empire demonstrates the power of effective branding. It makes a fascinating case study.
The Cath Kidston story started in 1993 when the designer opened a small shop in London’s Holland Park. The shop sold vintage fabrics, wallpapers and junk furniture painted in bright colours. The shop embodied the spirit of re-working the traditional English country house style. The business caught the prevailing zeitgeist, became a cult and became very successful.
The business of Cath Kidston became a brand of its own making. I do not believe that Cath Kidston set out to dominate the world with her brand. The brand developed organically from itself – from its own product. The product was grouped and merchandised in such a concentrated fashion, that it took on its own brand identity. The core idea of the brand was product-centred. Control and expansion of the brand to wider product areas was firmly in the hands of Cath Kidston herself. The business designed, made and sold its own products: it was therefore an excellent example of business integration. The concept of a brand that is product-centric is a very attractive one. It is a business model that embodies perhaps that most essential brand ingredient for business success: simplicity. If you think Apple, then you are thinking of another product-centred brand. It provides simplicity, strength and business longevity. With Apple and Cath Kidston the prime way we experience the brand is through the product. Ironically the Cath Kidston product range also happens to produce covers for Apple ipods!
Cath Kidston has survived the recession very well. Profits for the business were up 60% to £4.6m last year. Doomsayers say that the Cath Kidston look is passé, but the customers, obviously, do not appear to be listening.
The business is seeking an equity sale valuing it at £75m. Cath Kidston is retaining her remaining 30% share (valued at £25m). She is far from resting on her laurels and is looking for further business expansion in Japan and the Far East.
A simple idea in business often proves to be the most effective route to success. A simple business that is effectively branded in a product and person centric manner is even more surely destined for success. Cath Kidston has certainly proven this concept. She started out with an investment in her business of £15,000 – now that is an excellent return.
Bill Brown, Retail Consultant
Bright Perspectives