Monday, March 26, 2007

The £35 sweater and the £85 million offer

Yesterday we had another family lunch at which my eldest grandson [three in July] wore a dashing sweater with "Weekend A La Mer" written across the chest. My daughter-in-law told me she bought it at Daisy & Tom in London's King's Road for £35.

Knowing that to a thrifter like myself £35 for a small child's sweater is a lot of money, she pointed out that Son No 1 will have two years' wear out of it, and her six-months-old twin boys will probably do the same.

What has this to do with books? you may be thinking.

When I was back at my laptop, I went to the Daisy and Tom website where I clicked the link to the Chelsea store and saw the carousel [see photo] my daughter in law had told me about.



Then, exploring further, I read, "Founded in 1996 by Tim Waterstone, Daisy and Tom is the definitive Children's Department Store, and is part of the Chelsea Stores group."

Could it be the same Tim Waterstone who is one of the most famous names in the book world?

Tim Waterstone


Indeed it could. His biography at Personally Speaking, the website of the Norman Phillips Organisation, which represents a galaxy of big names, reads –

"Chairman of HMV Media Group and Founder of Waterstone’s and Daisy & Tom One of the most astute and determined businessmen of recent years, Tim Waterstone is the founder chairman of HMV Media Group plc (HMV music stores and Waterstone’s bookstores) and is the founder of the Daisy & Tom children’s department stores.



Tim was born in Glasgow and worked for Allied Breweries before joining WH Smith in 1973. Tim founded the remarkably successful Waterstone’s booksellers with £6000 of the redundancy money he received when he was sacked from WH Smith in 1982. He went on to raise £100,000 venture capital and set up Waterstone’s Booksellers with its first shop in London’s Old Brompton Road. Tim established Waterstone’s reputation as ‘the eponymous classy bookshop’ and changed the face of British book retailing. Waterstone’s was also one of the two or three largest and most successful venture capital entities of its time. Nine years later he sold the company to his previous employers for £47m, only to buy it back again together with EMI and Advent International in 1998!"

Then, looking for more information about him, I came across an item which wasn't in the printed edition of this week's The Bookseller but was on the magazines's website, dated March 19.

£85 million offer


"Baby clothes and pushchairs retailer Mothercare is in talks to buy Chelsea Stores, the owner of toy chain Early Learning Centre and Daisy & Tom, for £85m, reports the Telegraph.
Mothercare confirmed yesterday that it is negotiating over a possible cash and shares deal and said: "A further announcement will be made in due course."

It is understood Mothercare sees the Early Learning Centre, which specialises in educational toys, as a good fit for its business. While Mothercare has out-of-town retail outlets as well as high street shops, Early Learning Centre only has a presence on the high street.
Chelsea Stores, which also owns children's clothes and book store Daisy & Tom, is owned by a consortium including Waterstone's bookshop founder Tim Waterstone."

Having read that Tim Waterstone had written three novels, I went off to Amazon UK to look for them and found that, in the early Nineties, he also published Marketing for Small Publishers described as -

"A step-by-step handbook on the most effective ways to market publications. Designed specifically for those working in small and medium-sized publishers and voluntary organizations. It provides a chronological guide from making the initial decision to publish, to deciding on title and format, promoting and selling to the trade, schools, libraries and other specialist markets and dealing with the media, bookshops and distributors. The book also discusses selling rights and selling in overseas markets. "



Early last year he published Swimming Against the Stream which I'll blog about later.

The Brown Bear Book


The book I read to my grandson before and after lunch yesterday had been bought for his father when he was small, It was printed in Czechoslovakia in 1964, one of the Golden Pleasure Books Read-Together Series.

It includes three stories by Kathryn B Jackson illustrated by Scott Johnston, Wily Little Bear, Hasty Little Bear, Too-Little Bear, and The Big Brown Bear by Georges Duplaix, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren.

If you're interested in illustrators, do click on this last link.

7 Comments:

At 07 December, 2007, Anonymous YD said...

Dear Anne,

As you are well aware by now (I guess), our beloved Daisey & Tom owned partly by Tim Watersone was sold to Mothercare and its Chelsea shop is due to be closed down on 19 Jan 2008. Daisey & Tom had the best childrens book collections in this country thanks to Waterstone's personal interest. It is like a beautifully decorated children's library in a fairly land amongst all those toys. In the harsh capitalist world, our children is losing their urban paradise again... Very very sad.

YD, a Chelsea resident and a mom of a 4-year old girl.

 
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