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Guide to Growth: How do I go about building a strong team?

How do I go about building a strong team? What is the best strategy and where should I be looking?   

Drapers’ Guide to Growth programme is produced in partnership with Clipper.

Growing a team that includes the right experience and expertise is crucial to ensuring successful development. While convincing the appropriately qualified people to take a risk on a nascent business can be a challenge, it is not necessarily a barrier to employing highly skilled staff.

Judith Tolley, head of the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, explains that the best way for brands to bring on board new talent and build a strong team is to ensure they have a clear vision of who they are as a business, and what they can and will offer to new employees.

“The important thing is to have really decided what the culture of the business is,” she says. “What is a new employee coming into? They have to have that written down and decided. It is all about finding out the character and skills of the person, and also being very clear about what you want from them and what you want them to do.”

When Haeni Kim, founder of womenswear brand Kitri, began to build her team, which now comprises 17 full-time employees, she created a “brand book” to help communicate Kitri’s identity and mission.

“Growing a team is incredibly difficult when you’re starting out,” she says. “Finding the right people to bring on board can be difficult: it could be quite a risky career move for them.

“The best way to communicate the brand to prospective employees is to show them the dream and the vision as concisely as possible. The brand book included anything and everything for Kitri: drawings, price points, competitors, our USP – I would put into the brand book. It is something you need to revisit to reflect the business as it grows. ”

In terms of practicalities, Tolley notes that in the modern age, there are numerous ways to attract and approach new team members. In addition to advertising on job sites and LinkedIn, she says many brands now communicate their vacancies via social media platforms such as Instagram.

In addition, Kim advises researching and directly contacting potential candidates: “I asked around for recommendations and reached out directly to people for key positions.

“You can also use recruitment agencies, if budgets allow. They may find candidates who would never even have considered you.”

Our new advice portal for retailers and brands, Guide to Growth, aims to solve the problems and challenges fashion businesses encounter as they grow. Email your questions to associate editor graeme.moran@emap.com and we will get them answered. 

Plus, read our Growth in a Changing Economy report here to learn how fast-growth brands and retailers are overcoming barriers to growth. 

In partnership with Clipper

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