In the chic surroundings of the ultra modern Marker Hotel overlooking Grand Canal Square in Dublin’s Docklands Business District, gathered over 300 people last night to attend an evening with Cath Kidston, hosted by Image Magazine and Editor-In-Chief Melanie Morris to discover her unique story and the remarkable journey she has taken over the last 30 years.
If you don’t know who and what Cath Kidson is, you must have been living under a rock for the past decade! Interior designer by trade as well as a pioneering businesswoman, Cath hails from the leafy countryside of Hampshire, Great Britain. Since 1993 she has been the name and powerhouse behind the brand Cath Kidston.
Proud of her British roots, Cath honed her brand by taking inspiration from her immediate surroundings; the English countryside and her childhood memories both playing a major role in the DNA of her brand with colour prints, light floral patterns and fabrics as the core foundations.
At a very young age, without the foresight to know what immediate road to go down, Cath found herself working with great British interior designers such as Laura Ashley as well as the notable Nicky Haslam, interior designer and socialite, and founder of the London-based interior design firm, NH Design Inc. Gaining experience from such industry greats from a young age set the young Kidson up for future success and by 1993, she had her first break setting up a small store in Holland Park, London with little or no idea of the affect this little shop would have.
With start up funds of £15,000 and ambition a plenty, Cath went about producing her first print – the now infamous ‘Rose Bouquet’, inspired by the traditional rose print wallpaper she had seen in Wales.With her entrepreneurial skills progressing, she set about spearheading a growing brand, building out department and teams such as visual merchandising, buying and marketing to continue the brand’s progression. Core products included cushions, aprons, coat hangers, washing bags, swimsuits and hats. Within almost an instant, as she noted to her attentive audience last night, the press had a field day and were very kind to her first collections, paying her tribute in daily coverage round ups which paved the way in the early stages.
She explained further the ethos of the brand – to stay true to the original vision of the brand, which meant saying ‘no’ to some cash heavy opportunities that came her way. While many before her would have said ‘yes’, Cath has maintained her brand’s integrity by only collaborating with brands/retail partners she saw as suitable.
Now, in 2016, she has sold the majority share in the business in order to drive further expansion of the empire that she organically grew since the early 90’s. In her late 50’s she has achieved major success with an astonishing 54 stores across the UK, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China – a major achievement for a girl who had 15 other jobs prior to setting up Cath Kidston Ltd.!
As the Q&A opened to the floor in Dublin’s Marker Hotel last night, it is as evident as ever that women in business are hungry for success in business. Cath Kidston has been a game-changer in the retail and brand landscape, which such progress many could only dream of in a few short decades.
If you are keen to read more about this formidable lady’s journey, her book ‘Coming up Roses’ is now on sale.
Many thanks to Melanie Morris and her great team at Image Magazine for hosting such an incredible evening in one of Dublin’s most impressive hotels and for the equally brilliant goodie-bags, which attendees were lucky enough to take home following an enjoyable evening.