Celebrating 10 years of Brands of Tomorrow

In 2007 Walpole launched ‘Brands of Tomorrow’ – an ambitious mentoring programme designed to nurture and support the next generation of British luxury brands with the long-term aim of securing the growth of the sector. 

A decade – and some 85 up-and-coming luxury brands – later, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the programme with a special party hosted in co-sponsor Mishcon de Reya LLP’s stunning Africa House, and to which all alumni, speakers, mentors, Walpole members and media were invited.

The party was also the culmination of the Walpole 100: Secrets of the Entrepreneurs campaign, where luxury leaders – many of whom are Brands of Tomorrow alumni – shared their 100 top tips on lessons learned, what to watch out for along the journey, as well as the valuable advice they were given that has shaped their future success and their inspiration.

The event began with a panel discussion on the findings of an exclusive WGSN report: Future Proofing your Brand: Hard-wiring Tomorrow’s Success Today. Moderated by Jonathan Heilbron, Chairman, Brands of Tomorrow, panellists included John Ayton MBE, founder, Brands of Tomorrow, Links of London and Annoushka; Frieda Gormley, founder, House of Hackney, Brand of Tomorrow 2015; Ilaria Pasquinelli, Global Brand & Propositions Director, WGSN; Bonnie Takhar, CEO & President, Charlotte Olympia, Brand of Tomorrow 2010; and Alice Temperley MBE, founder, Temperley London. Key findings from the panellists can be read below:

John Ayton MBE, Founder, Brands of Tomorrow, Links of London and Annoushka
Creativity is the beating heart of business; over 30 years of developing businesses has taught me that you will be left with nothing if you don’t give enough emphasis to the creative force.
Being an entrepreneur is a journey, and over the last 10 years it’s been a wonderful one. Never has there been a time when entrepreneurialism is more popular and the ‘fear of failure’ seems to be going.
The digital revolution means it is much easier to do things quickly and cheaply.
Creatives are not always the best person to run a business, realising you can’t do everything is the most important transition a business goes through; find someone who can look after today so you can focus on tomorrow.
Brands of Tomorrow was set up as a two-way street; to provide new brands with a mentor who can point out the pitfalls and advise on what may be around the corner, as well as give inspiration to larger businesses who are no longer creative in the way these new brands are.

Alice Temperley MBE, founder Temperley London
It took me 12 years to find the best team to move my business forward.
Fashion is complicated, logistics are 90% of what we do – it’s all about the team, so make sure you incentivise them.
Success is building a brand with a strong IP so consumers know what a Temperley product is
Keep creating innovative content: how you use to tech to tell your story is really important; it’s not just about product it’s about how you tell that story.

Frieda Gormley, founder, House of Hackney
Six years ago we had just quit our safe, full-time jobs and were sat round our kitchen table in East London planning the foundations of House of Hackney.
We knew here was a gap in the market for print in interior design.
We launched the brand on 1st April with a brilliant launch party and then went on the website and there were zero sales…
The pivotal moment was being taken on by Liberty, and from there the business developed.

Bonnie Takhar, CEO & President, Charlotte Olympia
I joined Charlotte at the infancy of her business.
When I first met her at her Maddox Street store she had incubated the most beautiful brand – you knew this was going to be something huge.
At the time her motto was ‘the higher the heel, the better you feel’. Today this motto is ‘dress from the feet up’.

Ilaria Pasquinelli, Global Brand & Propositions Director, WGSN
The consumer today is in the driving seat.
Instagrammers are the new editors in chief – but how do we move them? You need to connect with them at a personal level. Focus on the mind-set of the person behind all this data.
Retaining talent is considered one of the biggest threats for future business – employees today value flexibility, responsibility and purpose, and they are the true ambassadors for all luxury businesses.
Strategy to thrive is having that entrepreneurial spirit.

To watch a recording of this panel discussion, please click here.

This insight was followed by the 10-year celebration party; over champagne, cocktails and canapés, and serenaded by a string quartet, BoT alumni provided experiential displays of their products, including Tessa Packard who previewed her new collection of birthstone pendants before launch, alongside an engraver to showcase this personalised service; Helen Amy Murray who displayed her recent project with Rolls-Royce via video screen; Alexandra Llewellyn who brought her backgammon boards for guests to experience; Exmoor Caviar who provided a caviar tasting; Rococo Chocolates who gave tastings from their chocolate-making machine ; Rachel Vosper who scented the event with candles and diffusers; Little Venice Cake Company who created the (incredible) Brands of Tomorrow birthday cake; Noble Isle who provided hand washes and lotions for the bathrooms; and Duke & Dexter, Camilla Elphick and Vivien Sheriff who showcased their current collections.

A huge thank you to Mishcon de Reya, co-sponsor Sloane Point Partners, all current and past Brands of Tomorrow, mentors, speakers and Walpole members who attended the event: without your unwavering support the programme would not have enjoyed 10 years of incredible success.

Established in 2007, our first, pioneering Brands of Tomorrow were Astley Clarke, Bremont Watches, Fitzdares, Nyetimber, Miller Harris and Persephone Books; Astley Clarke, Bremont, Fitzdares and Nyetimber are now fully fledged members of the Walpole community. Since then, many incredible brands have been mentored through the programme including: shoemakers Charlotte Olympia and Duke & Dexter; leisurewear brand Orlebar Brown; jewellers Shaun Leane; homeware designers House of Hackney, Rory Dobner and Richard Brendon; florist The Real Flower Company; perfumer Ormonde Jayne; food and drink brands Half-Hitch Gin, Exmoor Caviar and Rococo Chocolates, as well as fashion houses Emilia Wickstead; Goat; Zoe Jordan, Osman and Hillier Bartley.

Please click here to read more about Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow, and how to apply to join this exclusive programme – with applications opening on Monday 9th October.