Friday, 16 August 2013

Mulberry is testament to one person making the world of difference

I read an article recently on Mulberry's creative director Emma Hill. She is leaving the artisan British heritage manufacturing company and I don't think people are 100% sure where she's going (an accessories company is muted). It's not the brand, the very expensive bags (ranging from £400-£4,500/bag) nor the range being devoid of 'hardware' (clasps and buckles) that interests me, it's the way one person can have such an impact.

Since the Hill announcement was made, Mulberry's share price fell by 8%, wiping £40m off the company's value in a jiffy. A relative unknown when she joined the company in 2008 slap-bang in the recession, she is hailed to have revolutionised the company's designs, appeal and its marketing. Hill has achieved the holy grail in Mulberry's reach to a cross section of ages, demographics and budgets. I'm certain she's got a good team behind her, but change like this needs to be driven by a strong leader and visionary. 

It's also worth mentioning the management team at Mulberry, giving a visionary leader their head and scope to change and develop the company takes confidence - or disinterest - in this case the latter is unfeasible to consider. 

The other nice thing about the story is that Mulberry bags are still manufactured in the UK - Somerset to be precise. They produce up to 2,000 bags a week.

The loss of Hill certainly seems to have created a vacuum at Mulberry and one that will be very hard to fill. But I hope this British brand manages to survive the loss without too many scars.

It's really heartening to feel that one person can make such a difference in the corporate world we live in, and that the difference lies in that person's creativity.

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