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Aspinal of London On the Move

Aspinal of London is taking new roads into women's leather accessories after making a name with its vividly colored passport covers.

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LONDON — Aspinal of London is taking new roads into women’s leather accessories after making a name with its vividly colored passport covers.

This story first appeared in the January 14, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Founded five years ago, the English leather brand’s early sales growth was pushed by its travel accessories, and the firm has recently expanded its product line to include bags, belts, leather beauty accessories and jewelry boxes.

“We have built the business on our travel accessories, but now it is time to concentrate and expand into other accessories areas that will further stimulate our growth,” said Iain Burton, chief executive officer.

Last month, the company expanded on its leather beauty accessories line with a zipped and mirrored lipstick case it dubbed as a “handbag tidy all” that retails for $65. Aspinal sold 400 in two weeks.

Burton said Aspinal already had been successful in the leather beauty accessories category with the fall launch of a handcrafted oval-shaped vanity case for $445 and a buckled leather makeup brush wallet for $195, with seven natural-haired brushes tucked into a moiré silk lining.

Aspinal is also looking to grow its women’s handbag line, and in December launched a leather tassel-trimmed bag priced at $675 and a women’s laptop bag at $630 that comes in six colors, including violet-printed crocodile leather.

“We know our quality is as good as…other high-end leather fashion houses,” Burton said. “The details are really beautiful, the colors we use are like eye candy. Its affordable luxury, which customers have really warmed to.”

As product categories grow, the firm is concentrating on expanding its mainly online business into the retail market after its first 650-square-foot concession on the ground floor of London’s Selfridges department store in October. The Sussex-based firm is confirming the logistics for a bigger in-store shop space in Harrods, which is expected to open by summer.

Around the same time, Aspinal anticipates opening its first London boutique on Sloane Street. Burton said the firm also planned on cutting the ribbon on a flagship in Manhattan by 2009, after establishing a U.S. wholesales office there last month.

“A third of our revenue comes from American customers,” Burton said. “If they place an order before 12 p.m., it can arrive by the following day to their address.”

Burton wouldn’t disclose details of the company’s sales, but he said the firm was on track to be a 40 million pound, or $79 million, business by 2011.

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