LONDON, United Kingdom — Anya Hindmarch has a knack for making the most everyday of household items fun. In 2014, her “Fashion Flakes” cereal box — filled with entirely edible Kellogg’s Frosties — generated queues around the block.
Now, the British accessories designer is injecting her tongue-in-cheek humour into the home category, starting with candles that will retail from £50 ($65). (A complementary fragrance will be introduced next March.) “The candles have been designed in the same humorous approach as our main line, while being deadly serious in terms of how they have [been] conceived with Perfumer H's Lyn Harris [formerly of Miller Harris] and the ingredients she has used,” Hindmarch tells BoF.
In typical Hindmarch style, the scents — baby powder, coffee, suntan lotion — are irreverent and non-traditional. “I think an element of ‘guess the smell’ is a fun game,” she says. “It will be interesting to see if people can guess the clean, delicious smell reminiscent of the fresh scent of a baby's neck after a bath, when they are wrapped in a towel — i.e., best smell ever.” The packaging — lacquered glass jars with googly eyes or Hindmarch's slogan stickers plastered across — also plays into her well-honed brand identity. “I like the decorative appeal,” she says. “The little eyes animate a bookshelf or a mantelpiece and bring humour when interspersed with serious books.”
But perhaps most importantly, the category expansion will enable the designer — who founded her label in 1987 — to introduce a lower entry price point. “It’s fun for people to be able to access the brand at different levels and to add a gifting element,” says Hindmarch, whose leather goods start from around £175 ($230) for a keyring and £550 ($722) for a cross-body bag.
It will also mark the label’s first foray into licensing. The candles are produced in partnership with United Perfumes, which distributes premium brands including Fornasetti and Cire Trudon. “It means I have the product development know-how,” she says, “and the distribution network on tap without having to set up an entire department to do it in-house.”
Home is just the latest brand extension pursued by Hindmarch. Qatar-based luxury group Mayhoola For Investment — which owns 60 percent of the company, having initially acquired a 39.9 percent stake for £27 million ($35.5 million) in 2012 — has invested an additional $10 million to further category expansion. This season the designer introduced footwear and outerwear into her offering, which she plans to expand further in coming seasons (footwear in particular has ramped up quickly, according to Hindmarch).
But there is undoubtedly more to be done: an eventual dip into ready-to-wear — while not on the designer's agenda currently — is not out of the question. “I have hundreds of ideas,” she says. “Sometimes it’s stimulating to have a new toy to play with.”