Drapers gives you an exclusive sneak peak of our Close-Up interview with Radley’s chairman Roger Best and founder Lowell Harder, ahead of the full interview in this weekend’s edition.
Q: The dog emblem is synonymous with the Radley brand. What made you choose that as the brand’s logo?
Lowell Harder: “The dog was a bit of an accident. Everyone thinks it’s because I had a dog like that. I do have a dog but it’s a great big thing and very different to the Radley one. I wanted the brand to be very English so I was thinking of the names of [the] English boarding schools which my sons used to compete against when they were at school. That’s where Radley came from. As for the dog, we were experimenting with different things and one of the designers came-up with it, and we hung it off a bag and people loved it.”
Q: Will you still continue to use the dog as the brand’s logo?
Lowell Harder: “We will still continue to use it but not in such an obvious way. In our premium range, for example, it appears as a very small logo inside the bag.
“We have also changed the look of dog back to how he was originally.”
Q: What do you mean?
Lowell Harder: “He was changed after I left and was made too butch. The idea of him was that he was meant to look cute and fun so we are going back to that. It is not something someone from the outside would notice unless you compared the two but it was important to us that we changed him back.”
Q: You talk a lot about being an affordable luxury brand; can you explain what you mean by this?
Roger Best: “We are not trying to be a Mulberry or a Louis Vuitton. We want to be a brand with a luxurious look and feel to it but that people can afford. The affordable luxury end of the market is really thriving at the moment as people want to invest in something which is quality and will last.”
Q: How much of the issues that you describe with the brand after you left were down to decisions made by the new management and how much was it down to the recession and global downturn?
Roger Best: “I don’t think it was to do with the state of the global economy. Accessories as a category has continued to thrive during the recession as people make investments in that area and update their outfits with new accessories. I think it was about what happened with the product and that is what we are addressing now.”