Jigsaw (clothing retailer)
Jigsaw is a fashion clothing retailer with outlets in Britain, the United States and an independent licensee in Australia. The company is based on Mortlake Road in Kew, south west London. It turned over £88m in 2005. It has 56 stores across the UK (as of May 2013). Jigsaw's sister company Kew 159, based in the same location and aimed at younger shoppers, closed in 2012 following heavy financial losses.
The company was started in 1972 by John Robinson and Malcolm Webster, and is now owned by Robinson Webster (Holdings) Ltd. Robinson (born 1948), who grew up in Herefordshire, went on a holiday to Turkey and brought back a sheepskin coat. People wanted coats like his, so he and Webster went back to Istanbul and filled an old Post Office van with sixty coats and sold them back in the UK. Robinson and his wife live on a farm in Wiltshire. Now, Jigsaw sell Organics Beauty Products (lip balm, bath & body care...) that are Soil Association certified.
The company launched menswear in 1994, and produced it successfully for five years, selling clothes designed by Chris Bailey. In 1998, the same year that the menswear range was bringing in an annual turnover of £15 million, a Jigsaw ensemble was chosen as the men's outfit for the Dress of the Year. In 1999, Bailey bought out Jigsaw Menswear, rebranded it 'Uth' (pronounced 'Youth'), and offered more adventurous designs at higher prices, only to close down in 2002. In 2012, Jigsaw relaunched its menswear brand under the direction of Frances Walker, formerly of Nicole Farhi.
From 2006-07, Catherine Middleton, then the girlfriend of Prince William, was employed by Jigsaw as an assistant accessories buyer. She worked there four days a week to help her manage her high-profile relationship, but eventually left on 1 November 2007. The couple also holidayed together at Robinson's villa on the island of Mustique.
The shops all have an individual style, seeking to create a slightly eclectic feel. This has been achieved by using different designers for the shops over the lifespan of the company, including Nigel Coates, John Pawson and AMD.
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