The designer's brand is worth an estimated £50-million. Picture: Flickr.com

London - From rose-print mugs to polka dot tablecloths, her brand has gained her a legion of fans across the globe.

But Cath Kidston says she was criticised when she started out for "celebrating women doing chores" - because she designed ironing board covers.
Kidston, 59, said she "got a lot of stick" for designing an ironing board cover which was her "best product".

The designer - whose brand is worth an estimated £50-million - said: "I got a lot of stick with people saying 'are you celebrating women ironing?'. And I said, 'well, actually, if I do my ironing I want it to be more pleasurable'.

"The reason I designed the ironing board cover was I had a very small flat, and I had a grey ironing board on the back of the door. And I thought, why isn't it covered in decoration? So that was my best product."

Despite no longer being involved in the day-to-day business of the company she founded, the businesswoman - who set up her first shop in Holland Park in 1993 - retains an 11 percent stake.

Kidston also revealed that she was behind a new design for Ikea. She said: "They were amazing to work with, and they paid me so much money. But I wouldn't let them use my name. So everyone thought they were ripping me off."