CHARLOTTE POWER: In her first year of life, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge has become, like her mother and elder brother, a fashion influencer — and sales spinner.
The princess began sparking sales the minute she made her first public appearance outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London one year ago today, swaddled in a GH Hurt & Sons merino shawl.
According to Brand Finance, a firm that specializes in brand valuation, the “Charlotte effect” will bring an uplift to the U.K. economy. The “net present value” of Charlotte’s economic contribution is 3.2 billion pounds, or $4.5 billion, compared with 2.4 billion pounds, or $3.4 billon, for George, according to Robert Haigh, marketing and communications director.
“This is actually as simple as the relative size of the men’s and women’s fashion markets, by which I mean that Charlotte’s endorsement effect will likely be felt across a much broader range of products and brands or types of clothing than will George’s, allowing a greater scope for the monetization of her ‘brand’ and hence a higher value,” he said.
Brands and companies associated with the princess and her wardrobe have noted an increase in sales and a surge in Web traffic.
When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stepped out of St. Mary’s Hospital to introduce Princess Charlotte to the public, GH Hurt & Sons, who made the baby’s shawl, said it saw an immediate effect on their Web site.
“The statistics from our Web shop made for interesting reading,” said Gillian Taylor, great-granddaughter of the firm’s founder George Henry Hurt.
“In the days after Princess Charlotte was born, through May 2015, well over 100,000 people visited our Web site,” she said. “The first orders starting clicking in within minutes of the news coverage. The scary thing is we had no control over the speed of the orders arriving. I remember a rather nervous conversation with my IT colleagues.”
The company, which has worked with labels including Christian Dior, Paul Smith, Jaeger and Laura Ashley, noted the blanket takes about two days — and four people — to make. “It created a bit of a challenge for our small firm,” added Taylor.
She said the volume wasn’t the issue as the company regularly sends out larger orders to bigger retailers, with past clients including Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Mitsukoshi in Tokyo and David Jones in Sydney.
“The challenge was sending out so many individual shawl orders, all within a few weeks. We worked around the clock to get everyone’s order out of the factory,” said Taylor, who said proceeds from the Charlotte-related sales allowed the company to buy a new knitting machine, and gave them confidence to invest in the future.
Charlotte’s wardrobe has expanded considerably since then. She’s been photographed in an Irulea knit sweater and ruffle-neck top; and a floral dress with a white frill collar by Spanish label M&H; an off-white John Lewis baby wadded snow suit with a Johnstons of Elgin cashmere fair isle baby hat, and Emu Australia baby booties.
Following the publication of the image earlier this year, Emu Australia said it saw a 67 percent increase in traffic to the U.K. Web site. Emu’s global director of brand and e-commerce Sue Meehan told WWD that the media coverage overall generated interest on social media.
In February, Marc Jacobs Beauty named a lipstick shade after the small royal. Part of the Le Marc lip crème collection, “Charlotte” is a deep rose-pink shade exclusive to Harrods. The price is 24 pounds, or $34.
According to My1styears.com, which carries booties similar to the Emu ones, their model has been one of the bestsellers, with a 550 percent uplift in sales the day the photo was released.
“We usually sell around 40 pairs of the Pink Fleece Slipper Booties in a week, but within 24 hours of the Princess Charlotte photo being released 259 pairs had been bought by excited parents,” according to My1styears.com founder Daniel Price. “We have since sold out of two sizes and are currently trying to get more back in stock.”