Mulberry was founded in 1971 by Roger Saul with a £500 loan from his mother, Joan, and the famous “tree” logo was designed by his sister. Two years later Mulberry opened its first factory in Chilcompton (Somerset, UK).
In 1985 I discovered the Mulberry store in London’s St Christopher’s Place. I was working with a recording artist who was dating a neighbouring proprietor’s daughter and the lure of the store was overwhelming with a luscious smell of fine leather.
The store was Mulberry’s first stand-alone shop, opened in 1982. By the end of 2015 Mulberry had 70 directly operated stores world-wide.
An early purchase was a pig-skin black Mulberry planner which had the most useful inserts and information. It was a little over-sized but it carried a huge number of names and addresses in addition to a regular calendar. I must have annually replaced perhaps fifteen of the planner refills. Remember this is an era when everyone carried around a small fat over-stuffed leather clad book called a “Filofax” – which the London Design Museum venerates and includes on their wall of great design at the entrance to their permanent collection.Design Museum in London. The invention of the smart phone couldn’t come early enough for the storage of key data!
In 1987 I bought a matching briefcase in the most beautiful stiff black pig-skin leather that nearly thirty years later is somewhat scratched but easily revived with a little leather soap. At some point in the mid-1990’s the lock failed and I returned it to the store who despatched it to Somerset. It was returned in a new dust cover as good as new – I hadn’t notices that the stitching on one corner was loose or that one or the retaining straps for the over straps had split. A contemporary version follows:
In the mid-1990’s I bought my wife an identical briefcase in the mid brown scotchgrain that she uses to this day. She also has a delicious little Mulberry zipped red heart shaped change purse with that fits into any pocket.
My Mother has the smaller brown leather planner with a zipped edge and I have the large scotchgrain weekend bag which continues to be a firm favourite even if it tends to get stuffed in the boot!
In 2013 Mulberry opened a second factory also in Somerset. Since 2006, Mulberry has offered production apprenticeships to local youngsters who upon graduation are employed in their factories.
“Mulberry Group plc”is listed on the London Stock Market. The company encountered some difficult years due to the recession – with resulting profit warnings – but the brand thrives, with some production now taking place in China and Turkey as well as Somerset.
This iconic British fashion brand is now led by Creative Director, Johnny Coca, who capitalises on Mulberry’s legacy in leather goods with stylish and functional products.