Thanks Iain, for your kind comments on my Wall Street Journal op-ed celebrating the Middleton’s entrepreneurship and for the great info on how economic life has improved in Britain — largely due to (now Baroness) Margaret Thatcher’s reforms — since Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981.
In my Journal op-ed, I made the point that Prince William’s wedding to the daughter of entrepreneurs represents an elevation of the status in entrepreneurs in British culture. “For centuries in Britain, commercial activities were looked down upon by many in the aristocracy, whose wealth lay in landownership and who would not deign to dabble in trade,” I noted.
However, a few days ago The Washington Post proved that cultural snobbery against entrepreneurs doesn’t just exist on the other side of the Atlantic. A few weeks ago Christine Hall noted the Post‘s elitist rant against coupon clippers. Now, in its free daily Express, a tabloid that is handed out on weekdays at Washington subway stations, the Posties deigned to dabble in bashing the Middletons’ business.
An April 22 blurb in a section on the Royal Wedding (not available online) headlined “Party With the Parents” noted Royal Family-themed items on the site of PartyPieces.co.uk such as Union Jack chocolates and “God Save the Queen” napkins. It then scoffed, “Yes, the parents of a soon-to-be princess really sell this junk.”
“Junk” is exactly which describes this blurb, which betrays the Post writers’ incredible ignorance. Even the trashiest British tabloids have long stopped running stories about the Middletons’ “merchandising” off the Royal romance.
And with good reason. Party Pieces prides itself in selling prepackaged party favors with just about every theme kids would love. “From Barbie to the Transformers,” as I noted in my WSJ piece. And these days, a lot of British children, particularly girls, want party favors related to the Royal Wedding.
As good business people, what should the Middletons do? Should they sell every possible party theme except anything that has to with their daughter and new in-laws? That doesn’t seem like a good example for entrepreneurs, whose first rule is to cater to the customers’ needs.
And this royal “junk” will provide a lifetime of memories, in contrast to the junky Post Express, which isn’t fit to line the Middletons’ birdcage!