Osprey spreads its wings in California


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The Independent Online

Rich Californian shoppers are a target for the British-based upmarket handbag and accessories business Osprey London.

The private firm, with turnover in excess of £10m, plans to expand Stateside as well as open further stores in the UK. The founder, Graeme Ellisdon, is keen to cash in on the demand for expensive leather goods, which is booming despite the downturn.

Osprey is searching for stores in California's Carmel area. It would be the first overseas shop for the Hertfordshire-based brand.

In the UK, Mr Ellisdon is signing up to open a store at the developer Quintain's new designer outlet in Wembley and is also looking for a central London full-price unit.

The business now has two arms – own brand leather goods and a lifestyle arm selling one off pieces of high end furniture, jewellery and homewares.

Ellisdon has also split the leathergoods business into two  - selling full price luxury pieces in concessions in the likes of John Lewis and in his main store close to St Albans. While discount pieces are sold through his network of outlet stores of which he has eight locations including Cheshire Oaks and ClarksVillage.

Ellisdon, who started the business in the 1980s selling belts to Princess Diana said: “I think we are pioneers in the hybrid model - selling both full price and discount. Customers understand this model. Ralph Lauren has been very successful with it.“