Radley (company)

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Not to be confused with Alfred Radley, a British manufacturer of clothing and handbags
Radley London
Industry Fashion Retail
Founded 1998
Founder Lowell Harder
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Aberdeen, Bath, Birmingham, Bluewater, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield.
Products Handbags, Purses, Shoes, Watches, Luggage, Accessories

Radley is a London based, British accessories brand which designs and manufactures handbags, purses and other women’s accessories for UK and international markets. The brand was founded by Lowell Harder in 1998. Justin Stead is the current CEO of the brand and was appointed in May 2015.[1]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Radley founder and current Creative Director, Australian Lowell Harder, began working in the accessories industry as a weekend stall holder on London’s Camden Market in 1984 selling Indian men’s accessories brand Hidesign. Harder began working with the Hidesign design team and together developed new designs for the UK market.[2]

Harder’s business with Hidesign soon outgrew its market stall setting and needed increased investment and infrastructure which was supplied by the handbag company Tula Group in 1991. With the backing of the Tula Group, Harder was able to continue with Hidesign and in 1997, with a new working partner, develop a new women’s accessories brand, Radley.

‘Harder launched it [Radley] in 1998 after becoming “fed up” with seeing bags in the same colours – such as black and navy. Instead she wanted to create something different and colourful,’ wrote Drapers trade magazine in an interview with Harder in 2012.[3]

Initial sales of Radley were low, however through a pre-existing relationship with Department store John Lewis via Hidesign, John Lewis began to trial a selection of Radley designs. Radley became a success for John Lewis, which then led to an interest from other UK based department stores.

[edit]

In an October 2012 interview with Drapers trade magazine, Radley founder Lowell Harder said of the conception of the brand’s dog shaped logo ‘we were experimenting with different things and one of the designers came-up with it. We hung it off a bag and people loved it.’[4]

The dog logo, which hung from the bag strap, was put on a few ranges in the collection for Autumn/Winter 2000 but was added to most of the range by 2001 because of increased interest from customers. After the departure of Harder in December 2010, the new design team implemented a new version of the dog logo which saw a negative reception from the consumer. In her October 2012 Drapers magazine interview, she explained why the original design of the logo was reinstated on her return ‘He was changed after I left and was made too butch. The idea of him was that he was meant to look cute and fun so we are going back to that…it was important to us that we changed him back.’[5]

First buy-out[edit]

With the increased sales of Radley in 2002, Harder lead a buyout of Tula Group from its founding members. Tula and Hidesign were maintained as brands [6]

Second buy-out[edit]

Phoenix Equity Partners purchased a majority stake of Radley in a £45m deal in March 2006. It was listed again for sale the following December in 2007. The majority stake was purchased in a second buyout by private equity fund Exponent Private Equity in a transaction valued at £130m. Exponent Private Equity presently maintains their majority ownership to this day alongside Radley’s management team and Phoenix Equity Partners reinvested as minority stakeholders.[7]

Retail[edit]

UK[edit]

The company's first store opened in 2005 on London’s Kings Road. There are currently 19 full-price Radley stores and 14 outlets in the UK. The brand is also currently stocked in a number of other retail locations and department stores across the UK including British retailers Fenwick Ltd, John Lewis and House of Fraser.[8]

International[edit]

Radley is currently stocked in Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and New Zealand.

Online[edit]

Radley started online trading in 2007 and is currently stocked online in the UK by John Lewis, House of Fraser, Next and Shop Direct.

Rebranding[edit]

The company re-branded in Autumn 2009 to Radley London.

Collaborations[edit]

In 2013, Radley collaborated with the Scottish fashion designer Holly Fulton for a capsule collection of accessories. In 2010, and again in 2013, Radley announced a partnership with Harris Tweed, to incorporate the Scottish textiles into their handbag designs. There have also been capsule collections with the Victoria & Albert Museum and illustrators William Grill, Emma Cowlam and Rory Crichton.[9]

Brand ambassadors[edit]

From Spring/Summer 2012 through to Spring/Summer 2013, Vogue UK’s contributing Editor Laura Bailey was Radley’s Brand Ambassador. The partnership also saw the launch of two capsule collections co-designed by Bailey. For Autumn/Winter 2013, British model Erin O’Connor appeared in Radley’s UK advertising campaign.

Product offering[edit]

The brand currently produces handbags, small leather goods, luggage, hats, scarves, gloves, eyewear, casual footwear, watches, gifts and stationery.[10] Radley launched their signature fragrance Radley London in March 2015. The fragrance is available in an Eau De Parfum, body wash and body lotion.

Charity[edit]

British Heart Foundation[edit]

Radley has maintained a working relationship with the British Heart Foundation, a UK based cardiovascular research charity, over the last five years. In that time Radley has produced two capsule collections with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the charity.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Faulkner, Ruth. "Bag to Basics". Drapers Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 

External links[edit]