Ken Lamacraft, founder of KLM, talks niche brands

KLM manages the UK businesses of Australian Bodycare, Phytomer, Tous and Trilogy

Having previously held senior management roles at Boots, House of Fraser and Parfums Christian Dior, UK based Ken Lamacraft founded brand management, sales and distribution company Ken Lamacraft Marketing Ltd (KLM) in 1995. KLM had a key mission: to bring niche brands with a point of difference to retail partners and consumers. Lamacraft talks about the growth of KLM, which now manages the UK businesses of Australian Bodycare, Phytomer, Tous and Trilogy, and the rise of niche beauty.

Why did you decide to focus on managing smaller brands?

When KLM started it was a very exciting sector that was largely uncatered for by the established distribution companies as there was a high risk of failure. The investment support from brand owners was small or non-existent so the selection of which brands to work with was crucial. At the same time we decided to work with only a small number of ranges and with only one in each sector. This meant we were, and still are today, just like a subsidiary and not a distributor.

How has public perception of niche beauty brands changed?

In an ever globalising beauty marketplace both retailers and consumers are now looking for unique, edgy, high performance, value for money brands to try. This has been ‘seeded’ by the beauty journalists’ constant quest for unique products; when journalists write-up and comment on products and trends from Europe and the world, they offer a variety and newness to the customer that drives demand which also impacts retailers.

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