Celebrity baking guru joins up with Poundland


Jane Asher

Poundland has made the unexpected step into the world of celebrity endorsements. It is teaming up with Jane Asher to launch a range of exclusive bakeware in the spring. Asher has written a number of baking cook books, and has a successful party cakes business, where her creations can cost hundreds of pounds.

So why has she made the leap to the budget end, and why did Poundland choose her?

Why Asher?

In announcing the celebrity endorsement, Jim McCarthy, chief executive of Poundland, was quick to point out that it was the first discount retailer to launch a celebrity range. It has been a successful move for the rest of the high street, so with the right celebrity at the right price, it was a no-brainer for the business.

Asher is a great name for Poundland. She started out as a child actress, so has been in the public eye for more than 50 years.

Now she is increasingly known for her baking. She started by baking cakes for her children's birthday parties, and friends kept asking her where she bought them, or how she made them. She answered their questions with her first baking book in 1982, Jane Asher Party Cakes - the first of many baking titles. She then opened her party cakes shop in Chelsea, which has expanded online.

She is an established name in this market, with more than 30 years under her belt. In a business where the most respected spokespeople are those with a long heritage, and Mary Berry is a standard bearer, Asher makes perfect sense for Poundland.

Why Poundland?

Her reasons for joining the shop initially look more puzzling. Her Chelsea shop is distinctly high end, so the tie up with Poundland may not seem like a natural choice. However, Asher is no stranger to working with retailers. She has worked as a consultant for Sainsbury's when they developed their own novelty cake section, and as a spokeswoman for McVitie's for years.

She has also launched her own ranges before. She developed a range of cookware for Debenhams and Matalan, she has her own Jane Asher range, and sells cookery kits under the Kitchencraft Sweetly Does It range.

Her own branded kits are aimed at the mid-market, with a pie kit and a pastries kit both priced at £25. However, she is no stranger to the cheaper end of the market. The Matalan range was decidedly affordable, although it is no longer on sale.

In announcing the new range she explained her reasoning. She said that baking was not only a great source of pleasure, but also that it was an economical way of making breads, cakes and pies.
She said: "of course the cost of all the equipment can be an issue for some. In my new Poundland range this will no longer be a problem as all the baking essentials are covered and offer amazing value for money. The range is very pretty, and comes in four pastel colours which can be mixed and matched. I've also included six quick, easy and delicious cake mixes."

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