Ben Sherman’s licensing executive didn’t have to study fashion to work in the industry.
What does your typical week involve?
I work with a number of licensed partners, from footwear and watches to bodywear and boyswear, so my week is never typical.
Ultimately, my time is split between reviewing licensee ranges with our design team to ensure wholesale and retail needs are addressed, establishing marketing plans based on product launches and reviewing royalty income to forecast accordingly.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
We are meeting with our footwear licensee to review their spring 15 range today. They’re a talented team and easy to work with.
They’ve made me fall in love with men’s footwear - now if only they came in my size…
What task do you wish you could postpone?
I’m not normally one for postponing things, but with our spring 15 launch around the corner we could do with more time to get things just right.
How did you get to where you are today?
Given that I have an MBA and a history of business consulting in Canada, I’d say my path into fashion is slightly unusual. With that said, I always had aims of working in a creative environment, where I could then utilise my business background. Having relocated from Canada - a nation inspired by British heritage brands - finding my place at Ben Sherman in London was a matter of right place at the right time. The stars definitely aligned.
What has been your career highlight?
Given the diversity of licensing, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about the fashion industry, from design and production to marketing and commercial analysis. The talent pool at Ben Sherman is enormous and, in working closely with several individuals across design and marketing, I’ve been inspired in what I hope to do with the rest of my life. So it’s hard to pinpoint a specific career highlight because it’s all been great experience so far, but I think the best thing is when you feel like you’re still out to achieve something greater.
Who is your mentor?
My manager at Ben Sherman, Lee Gage. He’s the group general counsel and head of licensing.
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
I have two: “Get all the facts and come to a rational decision,” and “never accept anything less than excellence.” Lee is very methodical and logical as he has a legal background, so what he usually says is to just stick with it, be committed and take your time to look at the whole situation before going with a certain response or idea.
How do you see your career progressing?
Licensing has allowed me to work across so many areas - from design and marketing to forecasting and budgeting - I’d like to progress further in business development and operations.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
That you don’t have to do a fashion course to work in a fashion company. You can transition into a fashion company from a business background, which has been a revelation for me. Be confident in your abilities to grow as an individual, as there isn’t a set path to every role. Be open to advice and guidance and always ask questions - you never know what door will open as a result.
If you could work in another area of fashion, which would it be?
Having focused on development and sustainability throughout my MBA, I’d like to become more involved with corporate social responsibility. It’s becoming increasingly relevant and critical to consider stakeholders at all levels in order to remain competitive, not to mention we have a due diligence to operate in a manner that is responsible to more than just the bottom line.
- Salaries for this position range from £40,000 to £50,000 (estimate provided by Michael Page)
2012 Licensing executive, Ben Sherman Group, UK
2012 MBA in Development and Sustainability, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
2007 Business management consultant, Reliance Asset Consulting, Canada
2007 Graduated with Management in International Business BA, University of Lethbridge, Canada
2005 Management Diploma, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, Canada
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