|Headquarters||Bond Street, London, United Kingdom|
|Samantha Cameron (creative director)
Jacques Bahbout (chairman)
Xavier Rougeaux (chief commercial officer)
|Products||Leather goods and personal stationery|
Frank Smythson Ltd., more simply known as Smythson //, of Bond Street is a British manufacturer of luxury stationery, leather goods, diaries, and fashion products based in London, England. Smythson opened his first shop on 29 September 1887 at 133, New Bond Street, London. The current flagship store is located at 40 New Bond Street, London. Clients have included the current Royal Family, Queen Victoria and many other now deceased royals, many UK Politicians and Prime Ministers, Sir Edmund Hillary, Madonna, and Grace Kelly (and many other well known clients).
Smythson can customise its leather and desk product lines with gilt initials (for example). Much of the leather customisation is done in store in full view of the customers. Bespoke printing and personalisation is another important product line; particularly for weddings and parties. The highest-end stationery is often detailed with 24-carat gilded edges, hand-painted borders, custom-engraved motifs, and monograms.
Smythson opened its first freestanding store in the United States on West 57th Street near Fifth Avenue in New York City. SawickiTarella Architecture Design designed the shop using simple lines and colours following the style of the store's products. Smythson products are also available in the US at the high-end department store Bergdorf Goodman nearby.
In addition to the Bond Street flagship, there are also boutiques on Sloane Street and in Westbourne Grove, and concessions in Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and Selfridges department stores, as well as Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 5. There is also a store at the Bicester Village Outlet mall near Oxford. Other international locations are Galeries Lafayette Paris, and Harvey Nichols and Pacific Place in Hong Kong.
The Bond Street store incorporates a room acting as a small collection or museum dedicated to notable users of Smythson products throughout its history.
In the 1950s, the John Menzies Group acquired Smythson, which was at the time also operating under the name "Pendragon". In 1998, Smythson's then managing director Sarah Elton led a management buyout backed by a private investor. Since then, the business has grown and the company is now operating outlets in the UK, U.S. Hong Kong and "online" through their website. In 2004, Smythson recorded £12m in sales revenues.
In early 2005, Smythson shareholders appointed Cavendish Corporate Finance Limited to advise on the disposal of their stake in the business. Besides maximizing value for themselves, the shareholders wanted to find a buyer who would protect the heritage of the brand and offer the management team the opportunity to continue to grow.
Kelso Place Asset Management and King Street Partners, backed by a consortium of high-net-worth individuals, were identified as the preferred bidders. Sarah Elton commented that she was satisfied with the deal.
In mid December 2009, the label was sold for £18 million to Greenwill SA, the holding company for Tivoli Group, an Italian leather goods manufacturer. Jacques Bahbout has become Chief Executive and Chairman of Smythson.
The Tivoli Group, its holding company, is based in Guernsey, a tax haven. In February 2015, the left-wing Guardian newspaper questioned whether Samantha Cameron should be able to keep her job, as her employer is not paying corporate tax in the UK, where her husband is Prime Minister. However, Eamonn Butler, the President of the Adam Smith Institute suggested the solution would be to scrap the corporate tax in the UK, thus welcoming them back and creating more jobs.
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- Heather Stewart, Eamonn Butler, Should Samantha Cameron give up her day job?, The Guardian, 7 February 2015