Royal baby makes mugs of us all

DAISY DUMAS
Last updated 17:51 05/12/2012
Kate Middleton
REUTERS

EXPECTING: Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby, the royals have confirmed.

baby mug
Emma Bridgewater
CHEERS: The royal baby mug, made by British ceramics artist Emma Bridgewater.

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After the Kate and Wills meat pies and crown jewels condoms, there was a certain inevitability about the next round of royal-themed kitsch: the royal baby keepsake.

Where there is Windsors-related news, there is money to be made, and it is not just the coffers of women's magazines that stand to advantage from the Duchess of Cambridge's womb. The UK's Centre for Retail Research said that a whopping £199million ($388 million) was spent on royal wedding memorabilia alone - and a baby could prove as lucrative.

"She's having a baby! How your business can cash in on Kate Middleton's baby": The SmartCompany headline took just hours to appear after the now-famous Clarence House tweet set a frenzy in motion.

The piece highlighted particular retail areas of interest, "Women's fashion and maternity wear", "Baby clothing and items", "Commemorative plates, coins and memorabilia", and "Everyone else" - a handy catch-all that includes the makers of Union Jack phone covers and "royal wedding themed bras".

Brian Walker, chief executive of The Retail Doctor, told the site, "Basically it is absolutely a revenue generator ... businesses associated with fashion, motherhood and pregnancy will clearly benefit around the world".

British pottery firm, Emma Bridgewater, is sure to agree. Famous for its cream mugs and plates festooned with multicoloured spots, the company yesterday launched a 'A Royal Baby in 2013' mug.

It is no stranger to the royal merchandise market, having sold millions of dollars' worth of memorabilia for 2011's Royal Wedding - and its head of manufacturing, Mark Thomas, told the BBC that the baby merchandise market spreads well beyond the UK.

"It's also apparent from the media coverage over the last 24 hours that the American market will be strong too, so we're hoping this will help us move more sales into the United States."

Babygros - perhaps echoing the home-made 'Daddy's Little Co-pilot' outfit gifted to William in Cambridge last week, are sure to flood the market and join a glut of profiteers. But the 'Kate effect' is also likely to see sales of baby products that the couple chooses, such as a stroller and baby clothes, as well as maternity wear, skyrocket.

As Walker told SmartCompany, "When Kate visited Singapore recently the purple dress she was wearing sold out within an hour, so I think we will see the Duchess effect in retail". From Reiss dresses to LK Bennett pumps, the makers of some of Kate's favourite fashionable threads happily know that what Kate wears, sells.

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From tasteful tea cups to questionable D-cups, the onslaught of royal baby tchotchkes has officially begun.

- Sydney Morning Herald

- Sydney Morning Herald

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