‘My work is my pleasure and my pleasure is my life,’ says Trevor Pickett, who has specialised in handmade leather goods for more than three decades. Belinda Craigie discovers how Pickett’s success, fuelled by passion, has left a mark on the UK’s luxury goods market.
Trevor Pickett has been creating speciality leather goods, sold at his eponymous London boutiques, for more than 30 years. An eccentric character with an inherent passion for what he does, Trevor has evolved his business over the years to encompass a wide range of handmade luxury goods as well as bespoke and corporate commissions.
Pickett was among the first to introduce the pashmina commercially to the UK market and is also responsible for bringing men’s and women’s Kilim slippers – the colourfully patterned slipper made from Turkish Kilim carpet – to London shoppers.
In fact, colour is perhaps one of the most prominent attributes of the Pickett range, differentiating Trevor’s products from other luxury leather goods and accessories made in the UK.
Trevor’s journey began after leaving school at the age of 16 to work for a department store. He then obtained a job in 1980 at The Unicorn Leather Company, an established leather goods shop in Burlington Arcade, where he became more accustomed to the luxury goods industry.
A management buyout opportunity followed in 1988 when the Pickett brand was officially launched and Trevor had free rein to implement his vision for the business. ‘Because it was my own name and my own money, I could do what I liked. I was able to change, evolve, regenerate and rejuvenate,’ he says.
An injection of colour was the first thing on the agenda, with the introduction of an expanded product range. During that particular time, he remarks, the UK leather goods industry lacked colour – it was the ‘burgundy’ period of the 1980s and the ‘Donna Karan black period’ of the early 1990s. Leather gloves in a variety of colours proved an attractive way to make things ‘a bit more fun’, with Kilim slippers and pashminas closely following. The latter, in particular, Trevor says, took off and became a significant part of the business, providing further investment for the expansion of his leather goods offering.
Today, the Pickett name is perhaps most synonymous with handmade leather goods of exceptional quality, nearly all of which are made in the UK. The customer demographic has a near-even gender split of 51 per cent women to 49 per cent men and spans a broad age range, from 25 upwards. ‘It’s an easy gift to give,’ says Trevor. ‘A customer can come in and buy with the security to know that they’re buying the same quality they’ve always bought.’
Trevor believes that the brand’s reliability in quality, its attention to market trends in styles, finishes and colours, and the service speciality of its staff are strong drivers of customer loyalty. ‘It’s very much consumer-led by our on-the-ground knowledge. So, the customer joins us on our journey, rather than us telling the customer where to go,’ he says.
In addition to its seasonal collections, the company is also known for bespoke and corporate services. From luggage to jewellery to gaming boards and leather accessories, when it comes to creating something unique and special for a client, Trevor remarks ‘the world’s your oyster’. Quality control and specialist services are maintained through Pickett’s small network of suppliers in the UK and abroad. ‘With most of our product, I can touch it and tell you who made it, because we have those very close relationships with our suppliers.’
With two locations in the thick of Savile Row and on Sloane Street, Chelsea, Pickett is well-placed to serve his discerning clients. Trevor admits that the move from the store’s original post in Burlington Arcade wasn’t as challenging as he had first anticipated, thanks to the respectful relationship he’d fostered with the Arcade’s landlord and the excitement of beginning a new chapter on The Row.
‘I left on a positive note because I had a great time there and I still love it. It’s changed, but change is always a good thing. And then, for us to become a part of Savile Row is kind of like we’ve grown up,’ he says.
E-commerce is also forming a significant part of the brand’s business model, with Pickett relaunching its website in August and recently releasing a new collection of carry-on luggage, which reimagines the brand’s most popular styles in a range of options to suit all airline size specifications.
It’s clear that the Pickett team is poised to continue to go above and beyond in 2020. As Trevor says, ‘it’s all done through passion’.