As a renowned British heritage business with a competitive and modern edge, Adam Holdsworth discusses the longevity of N. Peal, how to remain relevant as a traditional brand, and what we can expect from this destination for fine cashmere in the near future.
Q: N. Peal started in 1936 and more than eighty years later is as popular as it ever was, particularly amongst celebrities and jetsetters. How have you maintained the brand’s strength in the modern day?
The key to the success of a heritage brand in the modern day is finding new ways to express the fundamentals without comprising the original pillars. We have found a huge amount of success in the James Bond affiliation. James Bond is incredibly synergic with N. Peal: quintessentially classic and British in its origin, but dynamic and stylish to the extent that the audience can relate to and aspire to. Finding ways of maintaining this balance is the key to staying relevant and adapting with the times.
Q: How is luxury defined at the moment?
No longer are people looking purely at brand or brand name, they are wanting more from their experience. In a way, people are simply reverting back to how they looked at luxury before the mega-brand boom in the nineties. Going back a few decades, luxury was all about the time it took, the materials and the craftsmanship of the work which subsequently became incredibly expensive. More recently, luxury was defined as very expensive without any real reason why, and usually was associated with a brand. What actually sat behind those products was questionable. I think that is what has changed again. Customers don’t just worry about a flashy name.
Q: Where does N. Peal fit within the luxury marketplace?
A: We pride ourselves on elements of what our customer looks for in terms of a “luxury” experience. Our quality is unparalleled, we harvest and manufacture in Mongolia, arguably the cashmere capital of the world. Our level of service and infrastructure is almost faultless, with excellent customer service and a special journey from start to finish. And most uniquely, we offer a bespoke service where customers can make changes to product with the guidance of our team. Through these elements, we confidently deliver luxury to our client.
Q: There are five N. Peal retail locations in London. What inspired you to open in these areas?
A: Our doors were first opened in the Burlington Arcade in 1936, and we have remained there ever since. It is a part of our DNA, part of the oldest shopping destination in the world filled with traditional craft brands as well as leading examples of modern designers. Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Mayfair epitomise this respect for tradition but have a foothold in the global retail sphere, which inspired us to open four more locations. Our sixth shop opens in July in Covent Garden, a slight detour for us but we are excited by the foot traffic and widening our reach.
Q: Any plans to open retail abroad?
A: Our journey has taken us to New York City, and we are actively looking for retail space there. Nothing has been confirmed, but a New York City presence would bring the brand to the next level, and I am excited for this potential opportunity.