Page 3 Profile: Cath Kidston, Homeware designer

 

All hail the Queen of chintz!

Cath Kidston certainly owes a thing or two to rose patterns and polka dots. Opening her first shop in London 20 years ago, she’s built a homeware empire that looks set to be sold in the new year, netting her a cool £50m.

That’s an awful lot of teapots...

The brand now has nearly 200 shops across the UK, Europe and Asia. The new flagship store, which opened in London’s Piccadilly on Thursday, features 20,000 product lines all featuring the jolly vintage patterns. TA Associates, who bought 60 per cent of the company in 2010, think they’ll receive well over £250m when they put it on the market next year.

What’s the secret?

The brand’s success lies in peddling a certain kind of Englishness, reflective of Kidston’s upbringing. Growing up in Hampshire, she went to a string of boarding schools. Her uncle is the 6th Baron Hindlip, and her cousin is TV property neo-Sloane Kirsty Allsopp. The brand boomed in the wake of the economic downturn, as many consumers found their appetites for nostalgia tickled.

Keep Calm and Carry On, and all that?

Which could be her unofficial motto. Her father died of a brain tumour when she was 19, and she lost her mother to cancer. Kidston has beaten the disease herself.

What a trooper.

It’s certainly been a long and impressive journey to becoming the decorator de rigeur of yummy mummies across the country. The success hasn’t gone to her head though. She spends her evenings watching Strictly Come Dancing.