LONDON, United Kingdom — Smythson has appointed Luc Goidadin as its new creative director, effective February 1, 2018, as the British manufacturer of luxury stationery and leather goods seeks to re-establish its brand image amid a changing luxury market.
“Smythson is a relatively undiscovered gem. It has the credibility of a historic brand without having been overexposed,” says Goidadin, who joins the brand after 15 years at Burberry, where he developed the men’s and women’s collections in his most recent role as chief design officer. “Finding a way to connect with the customer in a crowded environment will always be challenging. However, in a world that is somewhat cynical and tired of big brands, Smython’s scale and unique identity will be an advantage.”
Founded in 1887 as a stationer, Smythson expanded its product offering into handbags and wallets under former creative director Samantha Cameron, who stepped down in 2010. Today, despite being traditionally known for its notebooks and diaries, almost 80 percent of the business comes from leather goods.
Goidadin’s challenge is to bring the upmarket brand into the Millennial-driven luxury market, where Chinese shoppers, in particular, are paramount to success. “The Asian customer is among the most discerning in the world,” says Goidadin, adding “the great response at the launch of our Japanese e-commerce site is evidence of the brand’s resonance in that particular market.”
The announcement follows the appointment of Nicole Bahbout — daughter of Smythson owner Jacques Bahbout — as head of brand in March 2017. The brand has since opened a flagship store on London’s Bond Street and unveiled a new advertising campaign aimed at a younger audience. “Luc’s appointment marks the next stage in an exciting new chapter for the company," adds Jacques Bahbout, chairman of Smythson.
However, the label still operates at a loss of £2.8 million ($3.9 million) in the year to March 31, 2017, up from a £5 million loss in 2016. Turnover grew to £30.3 million from £29.4 million.