Rethinking a British Classic

Goodmans, a long established name in British consumer electronics, is making a splash this summer. Their funky look and products are sure to make them new friends.

For the first time Goodmans has a mascot – a cheeky squirrel, drawn as a stylised capital G. The squirrel’s legendary agility and far-sighted cleverness is an emblem of Goodmans’ quick-footed business style. The mascot will soon start appearing on products.

These include DAB radios, bluetooth speakers and soundbars, in a mix of portable and home use versions. With design philosophy summed up in the line ‘brilliantly simple,’ the kit has intuitive controls, and feature sets contoured to today’s gadget-blitzed lifestyle. Need to recharge your mobile on the go? The USB socket on your DAB radio can oblige.

Goodmans is turning heritage into retro gold with this move, like so many other great British eccentrics before it. Take the Mini, that icon of the ‘60s, now as unsinkable as Mick Jagger. Or Burberry which, around 1999, climbed out of the trenches, set to fire to its club check and has never looked back. We could add Pringle, Brutus and Ben Sherman, all great survivors that have turned a corner into the 21st century with panache and assurance.

What these brands all share is a connection to a seminal era of social transformation. This was when street fashion UK style really started, when youthful style-wars became infused with an intensity and quasi-political significance that has never been forgotten. And when, quite simply, the establishment was rocked to its roots and transformed out of all recognition in the process. Back then Goodmans was putting transistors into radios and radios into back pockets for the first time. Music drew battle lines. Now it is the great connector.

Not bad for a household name that started out making loudspeakersin a factory next to Wembley stadium back in the 1920s. With looks like this you can bet Goodmans will still be strutting their stuff well into their second century.

  • Rethinking a British Classic