Katie Loxton’s eponymous label aims to provide women with affordable, desirable bags and accessories.
In 2016, Katie Loxton launched her eponymous accessories brand, aiming to create covetable accessories at a reasonable price point. With retail prices for the brand’s signature clutch bag, the Perfect Pouch (main picture), starting at £16.99 and a weekend bag costing £66.99, it has carved itself a niche as an affordable, high-quality brand, and has a particular focus on gifting. Loxton declines to reveal any figures, but the brand is in more than 3,000 doors worldwide, including John Lewis and Fenwick in the UK. She speaks to Drapers about finding the right suppliers and why it is vital to be careful with distribution.
What were you doing before you started the business?
I was working in London for an educational PR company. I’m quite a creative person and I knew that I wasn’t working in an industry I loved and connected with. I stopped and went travelling and reset. I’d been doing a job for the sake of it and I didn’t want to be that kind of person.
We started from a tiny studio, and our house was full of orders – we even had boxes in the oven. We’re now based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, with a team of about 140 people. All the design is done in house, which means we can be really reactive to the market.
How has the brand progressed?
We launched two years ago with our Perfect Pouches, and the brand has really been growing and growing. We focus on quality and our vision is to become a really big gifting and lifestyle brand. It’s a really exciting time – we’re planning to launch into fragrance, candles and homeware, as well as baby and wedding items. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do.
Our Perfect Pouches are our number-one seller. They were the first piece we ever designed for the collection. I thought there was a gap in the market for something that could be a clutch or a bag organiser [to go inside another bag to keep it organised].
What is your approach to stockists?
We’ve been careful with our distribution. We have had a lot of people approach us but we didn’t want to flood the market. It’s important to find a balance when your product is at our price point – you could very easily cheapen it by having it available everywhere. We’re in Fenwick, Peter Jones and John Lewis, and lots of indies across the UK and the US. We launched our first franchise store in Carlisle in 2016, and another in Chichester in June. A fully owned flagship store in London is in our plans for the next year and a half.
How do you ensure the right balance of quality and pricing?
It can be quite tough. As manufacturing costs are going up in China, you really have to work hard to get the right suppliers. We spent two years sourcing good suppliers. If you don’t get that right you don’t get that chance again to make sure customers understand what you’re about. It’s all about the relationships you build with suppliers.
How involved are you in design?
We have a team of 10 in design and I oversee everything. I sit in on all product meetings, right from sketches to the final product development. Back in the early days I would go to China and sit in the sample rooms making the products. Now it’s done from home much more which is much nicer.
Who in the industry inspires you?
I look towards the high-end designers. I love the minimalist style of Victoria Beckham and what she’s done with her products. I get inspired by the detailing of Valentino as well.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
You need to be really brave and really go for it. You have to jump in. Your business will constantly evolve and change direction. People often think there’s only one answer to how you can grow your business, but it’s about moving and changing and not being afraid to go with it.
Favourite clothing brand
Stella McCartney is my absolutely favourite high-end brand. On the high street I think Mango is creating some amazing pieces
Favourite places to shop
I do a lot of shopping online, but I love Selfridges, Liberty and Space NK. I also love a weekend trip to Daylesford farm shop
Last fashion purchase
An incredible pair of Stella McCartney black court shoes with a wooden jewelled heel
My last holiday was skiing in Val Thorens in the French Alps
Last book you read
Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh
Last film you watched
I don’t watch a lot of films. I usually find myself watching documentaries, but the last film I watched was Wild with Reese Witherspoon.
Working at a sailing club. I was initially in the kitchen but worked my way to serving in the cafe. It meant I could go sailing after work, which was great fun.
A florist. I adore flowers and think there’s something so creative about working with plants.
What you do at the weekend
I work a lot at the weekend but also make time to see friends and family. I live in the countryside so love being outdoors and enjoying long walks with my husband.