LONDON — The British luxury leather goods and stationery brand Smythson has named Andy Janowski chief executive officer, effective in May.
Janowski, who has been a member of Smythson’s board for the past year-and-a-half, takes over the ceo duties from Smythson’s owner Jacques Bahbout, who also serves as the chairman of Smythson. As ceo, Janowski will report to Bahbout. The executive joins London-based Smythson from Burberry, where he served as chief operations officer and senior vice president of supply chain.
“Smythson is now poised on the cusp of an exciting new period of expansion and international growth,” said Bahbout. “We have built an extraordinary team whose skill and dynamism will thrive under Andy’s outstanding leadership and expertise in the luxury industry.”
Bahbout acquired Smythson through his investment firm Greenwill SA in 2009. At that time, Smythson’s ceo was Paddy Byng, who joined the company in 2006. He stepped down in 2010 and was last year named managing director of Asprey.
During an interview, Janowski said he sees Smythson as “the best kept secret” within the luxury world and plans to “elevate” the brand. “It’s such a jewel, and really one of the first plans is to tell our story. We are an 125-year-old brand. However, we have never really...told the world about the brand,” said Janowski. “Sales get better and better every year, but it’s all word of mouth.”
Smythson has, as reported, appointed Xavier Rougeaux, formerly of Sergio Rossi, as global marketing and communications director, and Janowski said the company has set aside a “huge” investment in p.r.
Smythson, which is chiefly known for its high-end stationery, will also focus on its leather goods category to grow the business, Janowski said, noting that “over half” of Smythson’s business currently comes from that area. Janowski said that alongside looking at new leather categories, Smythson’s bag business is a key pillar for growth, particularly more luxurious handbag designs. “We’ve strengthened the design team and brought in some incredible designers, and [are] really elevating the product more and more to tell that ultra-luxe story,” he said, adding that the company is also working with a more diverse range of tanneries in Europe.
Samantha Cameron, the wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron, continues as creative consultant at Smythson. In the fall, Smythson will launch a new handbag collection called the Eliot, a range of capacious tote bags done in nubuck calf and shrunken bull leather, with shagreen details on the clasps. The collection takes its inspiration from a design that Smythson first produced in the 1900s, and will be priced slightly higher than Smythson’s existing handbags.
Added to new product, a new store design will be unveiled at the brand’s flagship on London’s Bond Street in the fall, and the store will boast double its original selling space. Smythson also plans to renovate more stores in the current fiscal year, in what Janowski described as a “British modern” style. The firm will also launch a new Web site in the fall.
In terms of store openings, Janowksi said the firm has “quite aggressive plans to grow, first and foremost in Asia, and then when the right real estate opportunity pops up in Europe or in America, we will certainly jump on it,” he said. In the meantime, Janowski said the brand has “organic” growth opportunities in the U.K. by renovating the brand’s existing stores. Smythson currently has 12 stores, 10 of which are in the U.K., alongside one in New York and one in Hong Kong.
While Janowski declined to give specific sales figures for the Smythson brand, he said the Smythson group, which incorporates Smythson and Tivoli, the Italian leather goods manufacturer, has sales of 100 million euros, or $132.8 million at current exchange. Janowski also noted that the Smythson brand’s sales have grown at a double-digit rate every year for the past four years.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews