Temperley London’s product director knits on the Tube and most enjoys seeing a design become reality.
I wake up at 6am – I don’t need an alarm. My body clock is very set. If I’m going running then I’ll wake up even earlier because I like to have calm mornings where you can fit things in. I go out for breakfast before work, either with my husband Matt to somewhere close to our home in King’s Cross, or closer to the office if I have breakfast meetings.
For work, I usually wear Temperley – and I encourage the girls here to do the same – because it’s a great way to actually test the product.
I catch the Hammersmith & City line to Ladbroke Grove for work every morning and I’m normally knitting on the Tube. People actually stand up for me so I can sit down and knit, which is nice but quite bizarre.
I get into the office at 9am, and I usually have meetings in the morning. I meet with [creative director] Alice [Temperley] once a week to go through our process and to get any answers I need from her on product. I also have early meetings with our Hong Kong production office that we set up last year.
Sourcing and finding new manufacturers, looking at new methods of production and researching new products is a large part of my role, and it’s important to keep an eye on the new products that our competitors are doing.
I have about 18 people across three teams – studio, product development and production – that directly report to me and as product director I also work closely with design and sales. My job is to manage people in order to realise the product that design and sales want, making sure it ticks all of the boxes.
I travel a lot to look at product, and I also manage and write the critical path for the company. We’ve got a lot of collections running at any one time, so it’s about making sure everyone is on top of things. I need to maintain a balance between construction knowledge, an eye for the aesthetic and organisational skills. We have about 10 collections running through the year, which equates to maybe 900-plus products a year. So you have to be organised.
I try to grab something light for lunch and then go to the gym.
It may sound like a cliché, but the most enjoyable part of my job is the realisation of a product, from concept to making it work as an aesthetic that design are happy with and at prices our sales team want.
I also enjoy working with suppliers because the product is really inspirational. Alice has such vision.
[Manufacturing] prices are a challenge, but that’s actually a fun part of the job. We have adjusted somewhat in looking at other countries for sourcing, and certainly for our mainline. Currently, we produce in China, India and the EU. For me, China still has incredible machining skills, but the balance is shifting towards the EU.
I normally finish work at 6.30pm, and as I’m away a lot, I like to see my friends in the evening for dinner. If I’m at home I’ll be knitting or researching garments online. It’s amazing how much time I can spend doing that. You’d think I’d be bored of it at the end of the day, but I never am.
- Salaries for this position range from £80,000-plus (estimate by Henry Fox Recruitment)
2006 Product director, Temperley London
2003 Product developer, Boyd
2000 Graduated Bachelor of Design (Hons) Fashion & Textiles, University of Technology, Sydney