Another week, another opportunity to consider how it is that little more than a famous name can apparently “justify” the eye-watering markup on an item whose raw materials could easily be purchased on Amazon for eight quid. But enough about the 0m auction price of a Leonardo Da Vinci painting, because Zoella’s extensive collaboration with Boots – notably a £50 advent calendar containing a grim assortment of perfunctory tat – has also made headlines.
Boasting only 12 days’ worth of gifts, the box is perhaps most charitably described as an advent calendar for anyone either in a hurry or on holiday for the first two weeks of December, and the box of trinkets went viral thanks to a review by another YouTuber, JaackMaate, who uploaded his thoughts on commercialisation after a pre-roll ad on his own monetised channel, the YouTube equivalent of those times when Piers Morgan makes a decent point about gun control. By Wednesday, Boots had slashed the calendar’s cost to £25, which actually seems to border on representing decent value for money, if indeed such a concept exists in retail’s tinsel-strewn season of peace and hilariously inflated prices to all men (and their daughters).
This week also saw Kim Kardashian launch three new fragrances that are only available online, smell unsmelt, which, by close of business, TMZ was claiming had grossed m in a single day. But back on UK shores, it was all about the sweet smell of diversified revenue streams for a different, no less entrepreneurial KK. It’s Kerry Katona, of course, who has chosen 2017 to launch her own bed range. And you’re probably thinking, well, Kerry’s excellent work in Atomic Kitten’s early singles, particularly Right Now, does make me feel like splashing out on a duvet. You’re thinking: I enjoyed Kerry’s time in Dancing on Ice, chuck in a pillow case too. Then there’s her stint on Loose Women – order me a valance for every bed I will ever own!
Well, you may need to start taking your own lunch to work and giving up on ever buying a home, because we’re not talking here about £120 for a Kylie Minogue-branded bedspread throw. This is about literal beds. Actual, white leather beds that, thanks to their circular design, look a bit like an argument between a Chesterfield sofa and a Trebor Extra Strong Mint. Possibly not to every-one’s taste but, if nothing else, an opportunity for some hilarious “sitting around in bed” jokes. Anyway: “Order yours today,” was Kerry’s instruction to her 108,000 Instagram followers, who were sent in the direction of independent furnishing brand Monrose Interiors.
It is on that company’s website that we can purchase Kerry’s creations – and there’s some good news for anyone put off by MailOnline’s claim that these beds cost £3K a pop, because they’re actually just £2,999. “Mattress sold separately,” the website breezily mentions, though sadly the price of these mattresses is not listed. So, in the name of investigative journalism, it’s time for Lost in Showbiz to phone Monrose Interiors. On the first attempt the call is answered by owner Rosie, who explains that she is currently on the other line to Kerry herself, and politely asks if we can call back. Attempt two gets off to a slightly bad start but once we have discussed whether or not (spoiler: not) the Guardian will be paying a fee for this apparently private and confidential mattress pricing information, Rosie becomes less wary. By the end of the conversation, she has explained that they’re actually throwing in a free mattress, mentioned more than once that the bed comes with a five-year warranty, discussed her clothing line RR Couture (tagline: “A GIRL SHOULD BE TWO THINGS, CLASSY & FABULOUS”) and name-dropped DJ Khalid.
But she has also paid tribute to a “hard worker, brilliant mother and good friend” – that’s Kerry – and when asked if this is any more than a celebrity simply chucking their name on an item and expecting cash to roll in, Rosie recalls nights staying up late at night with Kerry, once the kids were all in bed, getting stuck into what Kerry thought her dream bed would look like. It’s not like Amy Childs -putting her name on a pram despite not even being able to open or close one, Rosie says.
Clearly, three-grand-minus-a-quid for a bed is a lot of money. And £2,999 for an impractical leather bed does seem like the nadir of the celebrity endorsement world. Except … Well, maybe it’s just an early rush of Christmas spirit, but while Zoella looks like a woman who will never not be wealthy, Kerry was absorbed into the world of celebrity in her teens, missed her career-change window sometime in her 20s and, in 2017, seems trapped in the celebrity equivalent of negative equity: incredibly famous, but with bills to pay. While Kerry’s business partner won’t discuss margins and the financial nitty gritty – Rosie knows how newspapers work, she says; they go and twist what you say – it feels mean-spirited to begrudge Kerry the chance to make some cash from large circular items of furniture. Even at nearly three grand a pop. There’s a decent warranty, after all – and in any case, who’s to say many of Kerry’s fans don’t live in lighthouses?
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