Cath Kidston Ltd was founded in 1993 when designer Cath Kidston opened a tiny shop in London’s Holland Park. She began by selling the vintage fabrics, wallpapers and brightly-painted junk furniture she remembered fondly from her childhood. Her clever, witty re-working of traditional English country house style meant that her shop soon became a cult success.
Gradually Kidston began to design her own prints and products. One of the first was a printed ironing board cover – practical, quirky and with a distinctive floral print, it has come to epitomize the Cath Kidston look. The product base has expanded steadily to include an extensive range of homewares as well as women’s fashion and accessories and the 2008 launch of the Cath Kids brand. Various products are manufactured under license by companies such as Churchill China and Fulton Umbrellas.
Over the years Kidston’s high-profile collaborations have included creating tents with Milletts (2005-6), Nokia mobile phones with Carphone Warehouse (2006) and collectible radios with Roberts Radio (2005 onwards). In 2007, Cath Kidston also teamed up with confectioners Hope and Greenwood to release a series of organic chocolate truffles. In 2008 she collaborated with Tesco to produce printed eco shopping bags made from plastic bottles to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Sales of the bags raised over £400,000 for the charity and saved almost six million plastic bottles from landfill. Kidston collaborated with the esteemed British company Maclaren to produce a red spot buggy which launched to great success in July 2009. She has also published five books, most recently Sew! with Quadrille in October 2009 – a follow up to 2008’s hugely successful Make! book.
Cath Kidston Limited has expanded steadily to become the unique global lifestyle brand it is today, with Kidston remaining the Creative Director. Currently there are 28 shops and concessions in the UK, two shops in the Republic of Ireland, seven in Japan and one in Kuwait. Shops opened recently in Windsor and at Heathrow Airport’s revamped Terminal 4 – the company’s first airport shop. In November 2009 the company opened two temporary ‘pop-in’ shops in London to make the most of the busy Christmas trading period. The business’ successful worldwide mail order, web and wholesale divisions also continue to grow.
Cath Kidston Ltd is one of the most influential and original design companies to emerge from the UK in recent years and celebrated its 15th Birthday in October 2008.
Kidston iconic Lakeland terrier Stanley features in catalogues and motifs within the product range.
Cath Kidston was appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to business in the Queen's 2009 New Year's Honours list. Whitehall sources were quoted as saying, in the Daily Telegraph (31st December 2009 p.4), that she is 'one of the most influential designers to emerge from the UK in recent years".