Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meeting Cath Kidston

Recently I had the chance to meet Cath Kidston, sometimes referred to here in England as the Queen of Flowers. She was speaking at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and I jumped at the chance to hear her story. She's quite the success story, having opened her first shop 16 years ago. Today she has 28 shops, 5 of those in Japan, and has become quite the household name here in the UK. She is often considered the Laura Ashley of today's time.

Her first shop focused on vintage fabrics, curtains, and second hand furniture, which she picked up at car boot sales and repainted. She called it a glorified junk shop. Doing some design work on the side allowed her business to build until her own signature products could carry the store.

Today her stores are experiencing a significant increase of profits amidst the gloom of a recession. She's not to be left behind in the world of technology either, since her design is one of the themes that you can choose for Google's new web browser, Chrome, that was just launched. She's in good company with other designers in this effort such as Dolce and Gabbana, Tory Burch and Donna Karan.

Perhaps it is because her products are so cheerful, bright and whimsical that the appeal just continues to grow. Her Christmas windows are inviting and fun.

Her signature look is florals, dots, and small patterns. The rose pattern was the first fabric she developed, followed soon after with her first product -- an ironing board cover.

She was well on her way to teapots, plates, cutlery, radios,

tea towels, sewing baskets, tins, and aprons to name a few, as well as

clothing, and her ever popular bags, seen all around London town.

Bags of all shapes, sizes and for all purposes. Popular with some of my American friends is a pattern with sites from around the city. She gave us a sneak preview of a new pattern due out next year-- a pattern with landmarks from around the United Kingdom: Windsor Castle, Edinburgh, Dover, and York to name a few.

Some of her stores are devoted entirely to her children's line

with the sweetest bedding, linens and accessories for little girls and boys alike.

And guess who has her own Cath Kidston backpack? Of course, you guessed that Jordan would have to have one of her very own, and she might just find a few more Cath Kidston surprises under the Christmas tree. You can take a peek at her wide selection of products at the Cath Kidston website here.


  1. Beautiful. I'll have to make sure Kelly sees this post. Looks like her style.
    See you soon.

  2. Oh,no oh, no oh no. this is dangerous for me to see such darling, cheerful and delightful home items. Actually if I could take a picture of my Laundry room I can tell it was Cath Kidston inspired and I didn't even know her before this post. I so gravitate to floral reds on peaceful blues. Thanks for sharing. How was the talk?

  3. How exciting that you met her, Debi! I love her fresh designs and the way she makes even the most mundane things, like ironing board covers, look so pretty and elegant. We spent hours in her store on the King's Road in Chelsea last year and spent way too much money there but it was dream come true to just be in the shop.
    Thanks for posting these lovely pictures.I can't wait to see the new design!
    Best wishes, Natasha.

  4. Jenny,
    So glad you enjoyed the Cath Kidston post. She's pretty amazing isn't she? Did you have a chance to look at her website? Her talk was quite interesting, as she told how she got started and about her successes and struggles. She had a couple of stores in the US for a short while, but it did not work for her, because the customs issues were such a problem.

    Happy weekend,

  5. Natasha,
    I live just off Kings Road so I visit that shop often. When the new pattern comes out next year, I'll try to let you know.


  6. So beautiful! I agree with Karen---Kelly needs to meet this designer!!

  7. I definitely want to visit her store when I come for a visit! Glad you got to meet her ... how exciting!

  8. I love that everyone knows I would like her. :) I have been an admirer of hers for a while. I remember seeing her pair red, pink and turquoise in an issue of Mary Englebreit's magazine several years ago and I think a store in Dallas that I went into one time had some of her stuff. Do you know where were her U.S. stores when she had them? Fun! So glad you got to meet her. Kelly

  9. She had a store in LA and NY a few years back. Yes, I see how she could fit into the Mary Englebreit magazine easliy Let me know if you need something Cath for the wee one! She has great diaper bags!