I have some advice for YGM Trading, the new owners of Aquascutum 1851.
Run in the opposite direction from any designer who says: “The brand archives are amazing, this is where I will draw inspiration,” and the same goes for anyone in sales who says: “I’m going to spend the afternoon researching the competition in Bond/Regent/Oxford Street.”
Mostly though, run screaming from anyone who claims that “Aquascutum is the greatest British brand which defines heritage, history and luxury. In the first year, it can be restored to profitability and open stores in London, Paris, New York and Milan, and it will appoint George/Jude/Brad as brand ambassador for men and Scarlet/Charlize/Pippa for women.” It isn’t, it can’t and it won’t.
Instead, learn the mistakes of the past decade and the squandered millions. Consider the excellent job you have made of upgrading and updating the brand in Asia and bring those skills back home.
Run Aquascutum as a business and not as a vanity project. Find space, time, money and desire to listen to the long-serving staff who have been there throughout all of the madness.
But whatever else you do, find a way to retain some manufacturing in Britain. That is the real remaining brand value.
- David Hewitt, Managing director of brand and retail consultancy Molbel