Mersey artist still ‘Boss’ after taking on global brand

Artist John Charles launched his online art club for children during the first COVID-19 lockdown – but his ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ catchphrase came to the attention of global brand Hugo Boss. Tony McDonough reports

John Charles
Huyton artist John Charles took on the might of Hugo Boss


Merseyside artist John Charles has reached an “amicable solution” with leading fashion brand Hugo Boss that will see him continue to use the phrase ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’.

John, from Huyton, launched his online art club for children during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Little did he know that its success would leave him facing a battle with one ne of the world’s largest fashion houses, Hugo Boss.

He uses his skills to assist families with their home-schooling and would signed off each art session with the phrase ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ which became so popular with the audience and he decided to trademark it with a view to producing merchandise.

After submitting his application, John, father to daughter Emmy aged 10, received a letter from solicitors Simmons & Simmons, who act for the Hugo Boss group of companies, raising the prospect of legal action.

Undeterred, John got in touch with James Roochove, from Astraea Legal in Liverpool to stand up to the global group. The matter has now been resolved between the two sides amicably, although the details of the agreement remain confidential.

John, who is best known in Liverpool for painting some of the city’s most iconic buildings and figures in his unique style, said “I am absolutely delighted with the level of support we have received from Scousers and many further afield and local media.

“This is a business we feel passionately about and my wife Jen and I are looking to grow it to support our daughter Emmy in the future. We cannot thank Nama Zarroug-Murray and James Roochove from Astraea Legal enough for supporting us and helping us achieve this resolution.

“Jen, Emmy and I are delighted that we can get back to doing what we do best, being a family, sharing our art, creating workshops and building our ‘Be Boss, Be Kind’ brand’

James Roochove, director at Astraea Legal said “John does amazing work and as soon as we heard what he was facing we knew we had to try and help. It is very intimidating receiving letters from lawyers at the best of times, let alone when it’s from lawyers for massive global companies.

“We wanted to help bring a little bit of balance to this one-sided fight and happily there is now an agreement that means John Charles can get on and do what he always planned.”

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