As readers of my blogs and our valued customers will know, I have been trying to get solid information from Waterford Crystal who own the Edinburgh Crystal Glass brand on what their continuity plans for Edinburgh are.
Since the Group went into administration in January 2009 and subsequent purchase by KPS an American private equity company in March 2009, getting positive accurate information has been challenging to say the least.
The latest news is a good news, bad news scenario!
Bad News – They are to abandon the Edinburgh Crystal brand along with key patterns, Skye, Star of Edinburgh, Skibo, Thistle and Torrent.
Good News: They are going to continue to outsource the patterns, Tay, Eclipse, Orrin along with a pattern called Isla which is not so established. These patterns they plan to market under the Stuart Crystal brand.
So at least we have some news even if we do not understand or agree with it. The directors of the Crystal division of WWRD ( the new company formed to take on the Waterford Wedgwood Group) in their wisdom believe that Stuart Crystal is more marketable world wide than Edinburgh Crystal. A quick reference to Google analytics would clearly show them actually what people worldwide are looking for: 50% more searches for Edinburgh Crystal in the UK and 20% more Worldwide.
Stuart Crystal has been neglected for too long now to effectively reestablish itself as a leading crystal brand without huge expense, something the company currently does not have. Shaftesbury Wine Glasses, Cascade Wine Glasses and possibly Madison are worth continuing with but I see no real growth from them.
The Edinburgh patterns they are retaining are their best sellers so they have something right there! I would also add Skye and the iconic Star of Edinburgh patterns. I would also keep the Edinburgh brand over the Stuart brand too.
At the end of the day they do have too many crystal brands: Waterford Crystal, Doulton Crystal, Edinburgh Crystal, Stuart Crystal and the designer add ons of John Rocha Crystal, Jasper Conran Crystal and Vera Wang amongst others.
I guess with limited resources it will be hard to fuel all the brands with new product and a marketing budget. Inevitably Waterford will receive the lion’s share of any investment. The simple course of action is to get the basics right with the other brands: correctly identify the best patterns within each brand and the best items within those patterns, outsource the production and then effectively communicate to the Retailer and the Consumer when the product is available again.
What we really need is effective, reliable communication which to date, a year on has been sadly lacking.
KPS are only in it to buff up the WWRD group to sell at a profit as soon as they can, that is what they do and do it well. This may be a challenge too far unless they can get a real grip on the basics, let’s hope for our industry they can and do not leave it too late.