Mulberry is clearly not the cottage industry that Roger Saul began in Somerset in 1971 with ￡500 from his father. For a long time, it reaped the rewards of a winning formula, which peaked with the Bayswater. It was followed by one must-have bag after another – the Roxanne, the Del Ray and the Alexa, named after model-turned-presenter Alexa Chung.
Experts pinpoint the change to the hiring of new CEO Bruno Guillon, a former Hermes executive, in 2012. His eyes set on rich Asian shoppers, Guillon raised prices but mulberry replica handbags quality and breadth of design were no match for Louis Vuitton or Hermes. Another turning point was the 2013 departure of Emma Hill, Mulberry’s creative director since 2008. She brought innovative designs to the brand and understood instinctively that its success lay in its breadth of appeal. As she put it: ‘I have a Bayswater, my son’s grandmother has a Bayswater, Kate Moss has a Bayswater.
Bruno Guillon stood down in 2014 as cheap mulberry bags posted a ￡1.1 million loss. Thierry Andretta, who has worked at Moschino, Gucci and Celine, became the new boss. At the centre of his plan to win back Mulberry’s mid-market customers is his commitment to keeping the brand’s core products aspirational but accessible.