Kim Winser, OBE is a businesswoman born in Helensburgh, Scotland and educated at Purbrook Grammar School, Hampshire, England. In her childhood, she was a highly talented tennis player, and considered moving to America to pursue the sport before switching over to business where she joined Marks & Spencer (M&S) in 1977 and became the retailer's youngest appointed divisional director and first female in the commercial field. Winser's turnarounds of Pringle of Scotland and Aquascutum were featured by the BBC in two separate programmes. In early 2009, she was brought on by 3i to advise them on its retail and consumer investments and to chair one of their portfolio's brands – Agent Provocateur. During her time with 3i she repositioned the chain as a luxury brand, led its global expansion into new markets and almost tripled the company's underlying profits. During this same period she was also an advisor to Net a Porter.
During 2012 Kim Winser decided to develop her own business using a new business model, direct supply via ecommerce and no middle men allowing luxury quality, a fast reactive and responsive service at affordable prices.
The eponymous online fashion venture; Winser London, is fronted by supermodel Yasmin Le Bon. The first collection; 'simply designed, beautifully cut and excellent quality.' was launched on Friday 15 February 2013. Kim Winser has since opened a concession pop up at Harvey Nichols in the Knightsbridge flagship shop of the upmarket department store chain. The latest collection is also available to buy online from Harvey Nichols' newly re-launched e-commerce site.
Winser London has since opened boutique stores in Gerrards Cross and Marlow, with the collection also being available at Rossiters in Bath, Flats in California and in six branches of John Lewis.
Recognised as one of the UK's most internationally renowned business women, Kim was awarded an honorary doctorate by Heriot Watt University in 2002.
In 2013, Kim was awarded an 'Inspirational Achievement' award. The winners were announced and presented their awards at Cadogan Hall on 2 October 2013.
In addition, Kim Winser selectively serves as a special advisor to a number of companies, private equity and family funds.
In February this year, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Ms Winser as a trustee of the Natural History Museum.
Ms Winser was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen in 2006 for services to the fashion industry.
Kim became a contributor for Forbes in 2013. Recent articles include 'Why Do Luxury Brands Need High Profile Creative Directors?' and ' What Is Power in Modern Retailing.', 'Why Looking Great Is As Seductive In A Boardroom As It Is In The Bedroom', 'Why Do We Use Sex To Sell Clothes?' and 'Why Do So Many Fledgling Fashion Businesses Fail?'.
Turnaround of Pringle of Scotland
Winser became Pringle of Scotland's chief executive officer following its takeover by Hong Kong-based S.C. Fang & Sons Company in 2000. As a partial owner, she revamped the business by taking it from a brand known for men's golf wear, to an international brand in fashion. She closed a number of poor licenses, used the company's vast archive of nearly 200 years and relaunched the brand as a modern, desirable one. She sought greater efficiencies in the company's Hawick factory. She launched a retail division with shops in Bond Street and Sloane Street, London and elsewhere internationally.
Turnaround of Aquascutum
In April 2006, Renown/Kaleido appointed Winser to President and chief executive officer of the global Aquascutum brand to help revitalise the company. She introduced a wholesale structure into the company and launched the top accounts globally. Since her appointment, the international growth of the brand had increased. She introduced a new image for the brand, with celebrities such as Pierce Brosnan and Gisele Bündchen appearing in campaigns. She pushed for Aquascutum to be one of the first brands to put on a fashion show in Shanghai, China. In 2009, when the company’s owners opted to sell off components of the business rather than keeping it intact, Winser decided to leave. Also in 2009, Winser offered to purchase the entire Aquascutum global business, including the small unprofitable element that went into trouble under Harold Tillman.
Winser supports a number of charities, including working with HRH Prince Charles with The Prince's Trust, Ewan McGregor for the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), and Lady Helen Taylor for CLIC Sargent. She is also very active in a number of events dedicated towards breast cancer awareness.
Winser has appeared on several notable TV and radio programmes including:
Winser served as a non-executive director of The Edrington Group, and in 2011, was asked by the English Government to deliver The Good Work Commission, alongside John Varley and other notable executives.
- "Scottish Women in Business". Scotland.org. April 2004. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "KIM WINSER, OBE, PRESIDENT & CEO, AQUASCUTUM" (PDF). Aquascutum. 19 April 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
- Davidson, Andrew (16 September 2007). "Kim Winser, Aquascutum's leading light". Times Online. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- Amy Duff (November 2010). "Profile: Kim Winser". Director.
- Andrew Davidson (16 September 2007). "Kim Winser, Aquascutum's Leading Light". Times Online.
- "Scots Business Figures Honoured". BBC. 31 December 2005.
- Elliot Choueka (18 October 2006). "Transforming Aquascutum". BBC.
- "Agent Provocateur taps into taste for luxury underwear". Financial Times. 4 October 2011.
- "Kim Winser: 'My clothes, and my business, are made to last'". The Guardian. 3 February 2013.
- "House of Winser goes online". The Sunday Times. 27 January 2013.
- :The Financial Times. How to Spend it.15 February 2013
- :Ex Pringle Chief Pops Up, The Sunday Times. 1 September 2013
- : Harpers Bazaar, Harvey Nichols' First Designer Pop-Up. 2 September 2013
- "Kim Winser: put the customer first". ttg luxury. 10 November 2014.
- "Kim Winser's fashion business to launch in the US". London Evening Standard. 2 September 2014.
- "Ex-Pringle chief pops up". The Sunday Times. 1 September 2013.
- : "Heriot-Watt University - Honorary Graduates"
- : "Inspiration Awards 2013" 3 October 2013
- : The National History Museum. February 2013
- : Forbes. 9 July 2013
- : Forbes. 16 February 2013
- : 'Why Looking Great Is As Seductive In A Boardroom As It Is In The Bedroom' Forbes. 24 January 2014
- : 'Why Do We Use Sex To Sell Clothes?' Forbes. 17 December 2013
- : 'Why Do So Many Fledgling Fashion Businesses Fail?' Forbes. 10 April 2014
- "Recreating Strategy Extra Web Case 2: Pringle of Scotland" (PDF).
- Jorn Madslien (5 September 2002). "Pringle Chief Builds Bond Street Castle". BBC.
- "The Inspiration Awards – Kim Winser, OBE". 7 October 2011.
- "Entrepreneur likely to bid for Aquascutum". 27 April 2012.
- "Appointment of Non Executive Director". The Edrington Group. 10 January 2005.
- Anna Kharbanda (4 July 2011). "UK Business Challenged to Generate More Good Work". The Work Foundation.