In the Brexit age, leading business minds are set on what the UK has to offer the rest of the world.
The country’s natural resources cannot compete with the likes of China, the US or even Australia, and neither can its manufacturing capabilities.
However, one thing the UK can continue to rely on are innovative business ideas, and sense of style.
Renowned the world over, there are many retail brands which are synonymous with British style. But not one has managed to achieve this status quite as quickly as Cath Kidston.
Since being introduced to the world by its eponymous founder in 1993, the brand has taken the world by storm, amassing a loyal following.
Its colourful designs and modern vintage prints are largely responsible for this, but there is far more to Cath Kidston than handbags and Scotty the Dog.
Lynn Ritson, Cath Kidston’s global ecommerce director knows more than most about what goes on behind the scenes to grow and maintain the brand’s army of fans.
“If you love our brand, and we care about our customers, there has to be a benefit from that.”
“We have a very unusual culture here in terms of people and how they collaborate across departments,” Ritson told Retail Gazette.
“I think it’s something that we’re quite rightly protective of in terms of bringing people in. People genuinely care, they are genuinely passionate about what they do, and it shows.
“If you look at what the print teams do across the various categories, it really is like a work of art, it really is beautiful.
“Then you look at product teams and the developments in the products, you look across all departments and there is that sense of love. And it’s not superficial.”
What’s immediately clear is the brand’s cheerful image permeates into the company’s inner workings. The sense of affection felt for the brand among its followers starts its life among the staff.
Of course, this takes a lot of work to cultivate and maintain. Much of Cath Kidston’s time and resources are spent ensuring customers are kept at the heart of the company.
“Probably the biggest area that has developed is really around the customer,” Ritson said.
“They’re not customers that are just a number in a database, a tick off exercise. These are real people, it’s about how you value that.
“We feedback live to all our customer service teams. When we get feedback, we hand that over to our product designers, we have a constant survey on the website right now.
“We just feed this information back into the business, it is a two-way street. You have to keep a dialogue open with your customer you have to keep asking them.
“I think customers, whatever retailer they want to shop with, would regularly want to give them feedback. Successful retailers listen. That’s a real watch-out because the customer knows what they want.
“There is also the benefit of being a loyal customer. If you love our brand, and we care about our customers, there has to be a benefit from that.”
“When we launched Winnie the Pooh… we realised we had something quite special.”
In theory this may seem like a no-brainer, yet in practice it