K&H Wholesale Launch Interview in Drapers
After almost a decade building its reputation as the PR brand to note for covetable womenswear, K&H Comms has launched a wholesale agency with a focus on luxurious cult labels.
by Harriet Brown
In the hyper-competitive world of womenswear, the appetite for cool, niche and elegant new brands never ceases, and retailers are increasingly on the hunt for labels that will set them apart from the crowd and lure in style-savvy consumers.
K&H Comms aims to help brands tap into this demand with the creation of a new wholesale division of the agency. Launched for the autumn 18 season, the agency focuses on contemporary labels that have an eye-catching twist and burgeoning cult appeal. Following a successful first season after its low-key debut, the business is now looking to ramp up brands and businesses for the 2019 seasons.
K&H Comms began life as PR firm Kitch & Honey in 2010, founded by Skye Harrison and Charlotte Boud.
In the eight years since its launch it has built a reputation for working closely with high-quality brands that often garner feverish followings. Of its 30 PR clients, notable names include Scandi favourites Baum und Pferdgarten and Stine Goya, activewear label Varley and contemporary accessories brand Paul’s Boutique. Boud and Harrison see the wholesale arm as a natural step as the business grows, adding to its existing PR and consultancy services.
“We’re growing, and we’re investigating all these new areas because of that,” says Boud.
“The last piece that was missing [in our offer] was wholesale,” adds Harrison. “We’ve had so many people come to us in the past asking if we can do their sales, so it was a natural fit.”
K&H appointed Emily Redman as head of wholesale in December 2017. She has previously held wholesale roles at agency Polly King & Co and Vivienne Westwood, and, most recently, Emilia Wickstead.
The 12 brands on the wholesale books so far range across womenswear and women’s accessories. They include luxury silk label Klements, sleepwear brand Radice Sleep and Rosie Fortescue Jewellery. K&H is relaunching Coco Ribbon womenswear for autumn. In 2006, the founder moved to Australia and the brand closed its Sloane Street store in London and left the UK market.
Harrison describes the brand mix as “contemporary luxury” focusing on brands with high-quality products and burgeoning popularity: “The market is tough now and budgets have been cut in terms of sales – so we need to get the sexy, cool brands on board that are getting great PR but aren’t placed in the right stores.
“All of our brands are high quality – we absolutely don’t want to go into the fast fashion market. We want to have cool, top-quality labels that are aspirational but attainable.”
As with the PR arm of the agency, both Boud and Harrison also stress that a personal interest in the brand is key. It’s brands that we love, so when we’re selling we feel 100% confident in it and want to wear it and shout about it ourselves,” says Boud. “That’s the most important thing to us.”
“We want to take brands on that we feel we can get results with,” adds Harrison. “Brands that can be placed in the best stores in the world.”
As it continues to expand its client base, the agency is thinking global – set to act as wholesale agent for Europe, Asia Pacific and, to a lesser extend the US.
The agency’s website relaunched this week. It has a permanent showroom in London’s South Kensington, and recently held a showroom in Paris’s Le Marais district for its autumn 18 collections. For spring 19 it will return to Paris, and Harrison and Boud are also hoping to exhibit a K&H showroom at London trade show Scoop in July.
Earlier that month, K&H will head to beachwear show Cabana in Miami with its swimwear collections, which include Just Sauced and Pili & Kiki.
With the wholesale arm of the agency, Boud and Harrison are seeking to channel their PR experience and success as well as harnessing and furthering their reputation.
“We’ve had to evolve, keep our heads down and focus on what we think is the best decision for the business,” says Harrison. “You have to be creative and think outside the box at all times. To survive we’ve got to go above and beyond the norm for our clients.”
About the author: Harriet Brown is an award nominated writer and journalist, reporting on business, fashion and retail for the trade press magazine Drapers. She researches, analyses and communicates cutting-edge industry developments: conducting interviews, data interpretation, analysis and critical reading to build an expert understanding of the sector and its dynamic challenges.