Roger Saul Bio
Roger Saul's passion and energy has helped him forge an incredibly successful and varied career, exploring everything from fashion to farming.In 1971 he established the luxury label Mulberry and more recently, he has developed a shopping emporium at a heritage site in Somerset.
Born in Lottisham, Somerset and educated at Wells Cathedral School and Kingswood School in Bath, Roger went on to win a business studies scholarship to Westminster College in London. He began his ground breaking fashion career in the late 1960s as a trainee buyer at the John Michael label in London's Carnaby Street.
The Mulberry YearsRoger is most well known for creating and developing the designer label, Mulberry, which has become synonymous with `le style anglais'. He founded the brand in 1971 with his mother, Joan and began manufacturing accessories such as belts and handbags from a production base in Somerset.
These were popular with the trendy boutiques of the time: Bus Stop, Biba and Escalade and his reputation as an accessories designer quickly led to commissions from famous brands such as Ralph Lauren and Burberry.
By 1979 Mulberry won the Queen's Award for Export and Roger became chairman of the London Designer Collections, with Mulberry sales worldwide topping 80% of production.
Throughout the 1980s Roger developed Mulberry into an international brand, opening shops in Europe and Japan and adding ready to wear collections to its range of eponymous accessories.
In 1990 Roger launched the Mulberry Home collection which again, earned the company the Queen's Award for Export. Roger was voted British Classic Designer of the year in 1992 and in 1996 he successfully floated the company on the AIM market of the stock exchange. During the 33 years he ran Mulberry it became one of the most successful British fashion brands in the world.
Charlton HouseIn 1996 Roger opened the award winning Charlton House hotel, primarily to promote the Mulberry Home Collection. However, it quickly became an exciting business in its own right and was awarded a Michelin Star within its first year of opening.
In 2003, Roger and his wife Monty created Monty's: a spa, health and beauty range. The collection consisted of their own specially created essential oil treatments, which contain pure and natural oils as well as plant ingredients chosen for their beneficial properties.
During the 13 years Roger and Monty ran the hotel, it was recognised as one of the best Designer boutique hotels, making it into the Top 25 Hip Hotels of the world.
Sharpham ParkHaving left Mulberry, 2004 saw a change of direction for Roger as he turned his formidable energy to farming. The land that surrounded his home was up for sale and he decided to buy it and farm organic spelt alongside sheep, cattle and red deer.
He was becoming increasingly aware of the major health benefits of spelt and the importance of a high fibre diet in reducing the risk of bowel cancer. The nutty- flavoured grain is highly nutritious and is farmed organically at Sharpham Park, before being used to make a range of products which are sold in the cafes and farm shop at Kilver Court, and in various supermarkets and health food shops across the UK, Europe, the Middle and Far East.
Kilver CourtIn the 1990s, Roger bought Kilver Court in Shepton Mallet as the headquarters for Mulberry. The 3.5 acre site set against a 19th century viaduct offers an `oasis of tranquillity and reflection' for all visitors.
The `Secret Gardens' were opened to the public in 2008 alongside the Harlequin Cafe and a Wellness Centre. Work to develop the site continued and in the summer of 2011, Roger launched The Emporium, the first step on the road to his dream of creating a Designer Outlet Village.
Restoration, regeneration and renewal are the driving forces behind the vision for Kilver Court and together, Roger and son Freddie, work tirelessly to build it into the best designer shopping destination in the UK.
Motor racing Roger has always been an avid fan of the sport and during his amateur career; he won historic Grand Prix and races throughout Britain and Europe in his much loved Alfa Romeo P3 and Mercedes Gullwing. While his new environmental awareness meant that those days were numbered, he has not given up on his love of speed. In 2010 he curated 'The Eco-Car Spectacular' for HRH Prince Charles'" Start Campaign" and is now a director of the EV Cup, a company set up to create the first electric car races in the world.
Roger is married to former Dior model, Monty and they have three sons.