Roger Saul, founder of fashion brand Mulberry, will make a special appearance at the Spring Fair on Monday February 6.
At the trade show, which takes place from February 5 to February 9 at the NEC in Birmingham, he will share his experience of the retail industry and provide insights into developing a luxury brand.
Roger will also be hosting an interactive on-stage question and answer session. ‘An Audience with Roger Saul’ takes place from 4.10pm to 4.40pm on the Trends Catwalk.
Roger is best known for founding Mulberry which he set up with his mother Joan in 1971. All design and production took place in Somerset, and he sold belts and then handbags to trendy boutiques of the era, such as Biba.
He quickly became known as the accessory designer du jour making collections for Ralph Lauren and Burberry to name but a few. By 1979, Mulberry had won the Queen’s Award for Export and Roger became chairman of the London Designer Collections.
During the 1980s Mulberry went global, opening retail shops in Europe and Japan selling womenswear, bags and leather accessories.
In 1990 Roger launched the Mulberry Home collection and Mulberry was again awarded the Queen’s Award for Export. Roger was voted British Classic Designer of the year in 1992, and in 1996 he floated the company on the stock exchange.
During the 33 years that he ran the business it became one of the most successful British fashion brands and exporters in the world.
In 1996, Roger and his wife Monty opened the award- winning Charlton House Hotel in Somerset, which became the flagship for showcasing the Mulberry Home collection. Within its first year of opening, Charlton House was awarded a Michelin star and over the 13 years Roger and Monty owned the hotel, it was recognised as one of the 25 best designer boutique hotels in the world (Hip Hotels).
In 2004 Roger bought Sharpham Park: a 1,000 year old deer park which he restored to productivity by creating an organic spelt farm. The spelt is used in a host of Sharpham Park branded products, including breakfast cereals and flour, sold nationwide through retailers such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, as well as delicatessens throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East and Far East.Roger launched his Spelt cookbook, published by Nourish books, in 2015.
In 1996, Roger acquired Kilver Court in Shepton Mallet and opened the Kilver Court gardens to the public for the first time. In 2011, he launched the Kilver Court Emporium – the first phase of the Kilver Court Designer Village. Today, Kilver Court boasts over 50 designer brands, including Whistles, Rapha, Bamford, Pringle and Turnbull & Asser.