Crabtree & Evelyn Bloom With Private Brand

Tess Wicksteed: Strategy Director Pearlfisher and Sandra Lee: Owner, CEO and Brand Guardian of Crabtree & Evelyn

The FUSE 2011 conference closed on Wednesay with a number of retailer and Private Brand presentations including: Target and Crabtree & Evelyn.  Look for a Target Post early next week. Sandra Lee: Company Owner, CEO and Brand Guardian Of Crabtree & Evelyn along with Tess Wicksteed, Strategy Director, of the branding agency Pearlfisher presented their exciting partnership in “Reviving An Icon: How to Stay True to Your Roots Whilst Becoming a Global Icon” in the Brand Strategy track at the conference. The lively presentation from the two engaging women presented Crabtree & Evelyn’s journey to reinvent and reinvigorate its brand over the last few years and the stunning strategic work from Pearlfisher. The new designs give an obvious and reverential nod to the retailers past while modernizing and refreshing the packaging.

The following is a series of interviews with both women conducted by the official blog of FUSE, NEXT BIG DESIGN

Sandra Lee: Company Owner, CEO and Brand Guardian Of Crabtree & Evelyn

Tell us about a Crabtree & Evelyn project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of
I am really delighted with our newly launched Floral Fragrance Collection, comprised of four exquisite single note scents, Iris, Rosewater, Lavender and Lily as this collection truly offers moments of indulgence to women of all ages. Formulated in partnership with master perfumers, our luxurious body care formulations and perfumes bring to life the timeline elegance, beauty and romance of the garden in full bloom. The collection is artfully crafted and presented in elegant packaging that features quintessentially English water color designs that are a modern take on the botanical illustration that are inspired by the vibrancy in nature.

Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for design do you see?
I believe design will become more individual and more expressive in the future. Our markets today are highly saturated and brands are often competing for the same space and mindset. Design is increasingly the differentiator, it is how brands create a strong sense of identity, create experiences and express their specialness. I see design in the future very much becoming intrinsic to brand value, especially the intangible that makes brands unique. I think more and more brands will recognize this and we will start to see more original design with a stronger sense of individuality and expression. Especially as we continue to emerge from the financial crisis, I think it will be a very exciting time for design both in terms of ideas and aesthetics.

What inspired you to get in the field and spearhead the Crabtree & Evelyn brand? What keeps you motivated?
I have always felt a strong connection with the Crabtree & Evelyn brand. I can vividly recall the moment I first encountered our iconic Jojoba Seashell soap while on holiday in Carmel with my family 20 years ago. Even then, I immediately felt the richness of the brand and felt the strength of its heritage. However what also excited me was the brands potential. Crabtree & Evelyn is such an iconic brand with a truly wonderful story, but like all good icons it’s on a journey and needs to remain relevant and desirable to suit the needs and lifestyles of today’s consumers. It needs to do this whilst remaining true to its roots and heritage. I remember the first time I used the product and how the fragrance and experience delighted my senses. This first encounter motivates me and reminds me of the brands truth as we take Crabtree & Evelyn on its global journey into the future. Crabtree & Evelyn transcends beyond being purely a product, and I am motivated by the power of aesthetics and design to bring the brands truth to life for our modern day consumers around the world at every touchpoint of their lives

What is one thing you’re excited about for this year’s Fuse?
I am thrilled to be here to able to learn from so many great minds and leaders in the industry. Design is a crucial element for Crabtree & Evelyn to deliver upon our brand values for our customers and so we have much to learn from the masters!

What is your favorite brand?
There are too many to list! However, a brand that I do admire and enjoy very much is Prada. It is contemporary; relevant yet remains true to its heritage and workmanship.

If you could invite 2 people to dinner (dead or alive) who would they be?
Mother Theresa and Anna Wintour. Quite an unusual combination I know, but I really admire the inner resilience, tenacity and strength of these two great women. Mother Theresa was able to continually give of herself despite her own doubts and challenges, and the same inner strength is also undeniable in Anna Wintour, who is able to lead the fashion trends while remaining true to her own style in the ever-changing fashion industry. It would be an honour to have dinner with these two amazing ladies.

What is your dream project?
Every project I work on for Crabtree & Evelyn is a dream project for me as it is a joy and delight to create new collections that offer moments of indulgences for our customers. I am privileged to work with a brand with such a rich heritage, strong design principles and genuine brand values. My vocation has now become my vacation when working with our master perfumers, skilled formulators and gifted designers!

Learn more about Crabtree & Evelyn at

Tess Wicksteed, Strategy Director, of the branding agency Pearlfisher

Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?
I like working in China – they are so quick and entrepreneurial, imaginative and clever. We recently redesigned one of their biggest water brands, Nongfu. The express intention of the brand was to celebrate a Chinese future worthy of the best of their past. They invested in a proper immersion upfront, which meant we really understood their objectives and preferences – throughout they were decisive and immediate in their feedback. The working relationship was very respectful – a real partnership.

Think 5 years ahead, what major changes for design do you see?
It depends how depressed I am feeling. In a positive mood I think that all the creative branding industries will fold into design. Design is really the definitive form of brand media – it is preoccupied with the big idea at the heart of the brand and finding a form with which to express it at its most impactful and long-lasting. It’s the precursor to everything else. If you have a bold idea it only counts if you have a strong and unified aesthetic with which to communicate it.
Or, if I am feeling a bit depressed then I think that the design industry will sigh gently and fold into the other sectors. Design is sometimes a bit too nice for its own good.

What inspired you to get into the field? What keeps you motivated?
I like good culture. Good brands are an important part of creating good culture. Good brands tend to be the ones that are preoccupied with ideals or ideas and that use design to propagate them. I’m motivated by the very large amount of really awful and unnecessary stuff that is out there.

What is one thing you’re excited about for this year’s Fuse?
I’ve never been to Fuse so I am very excited about understanding what everyone else is so excited about!

What is your favorite brand?
New York – I believe in it. It has all the characteristics I look for in an icon – intensity (it keeps on suprising me), intimacy (I have a special personal relationship with it), popularity (its intensely democratic anyone can belong here) and longevity (it has lasting appeal)

If you could invite 2 people to dinner (dead or alive) who would they be?
Franny and Zooey

What is your dream project?
Redesigning the UK on American principles: America has a narrative of itself that is both verbal and visual that the UK could have and doesn’t really. The UK has a lot going for it but it doesn’t have a public narrative about its role in the modern world for people to get behind – it’s a repositioning exercise that I would love to do. I see my time here in America as an opportunity to learn from her and see what works and what doesn’t and then take it back home. America has a dream even if it can’t always live it.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.