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A day in the life: Michael Brown

The UK & Ireland account manager for distributor Concrete Studio tells himself ‘it’s just fashion’.

What does your typical week involve?

As we distribute multiple brands for the UK [such as Côte&Ciel, Common People, Stutterheim Raincoats and The White Briefs] and then have two in-house brands [Natural Selection Denim and SNCL] my week usually involves working on all of our brands and a vast amount of stores for the UK and internationally. A typical week is mostly taken up with meetings, budgets, emails and phone calls.

What meeting are you most looking forward to today?

My appointment with Tim Sturmheit, the buyer from etailer Oki-ni, is always a pleasure. It’s a bonus when you can work with good people.

What meeting do you wish you could postpone?

A budget meeting with the accounts department, which is vital, but excessive number crunching was never my passion.

How did you get to where you are today?

To be honest there was no set path laid out in front of me or premeditated, which is very unlike me, being a person who plans out every aspect of my life. After my internship with British Vogue and working with the design team during university, I knew I wanted a career in fashion but didn’t know which direction I would be suited to best.

I’ve always wanted to create and establish a brand, which is still a huge passion for me, but in terms of wholesale it’s really something that has been a natural progression from working in stores. I briefly worked at [menswear independent] Present in Shoreditch where I was fortunate enough to meet people who shared a similar passion and gave me an opportunity I’ll always be grateful for.

What has been your career highlight?

Working with inspiring brands and people is a highlight, but to pinpoint one moment it was being involved with the team at Dover Street Market to create the Stutterheim Raincoat installation last year, which was a great achievement for everyone involved.

Being passionate about working with the best stores in the world, the opportunity to work with Dover Street Market with two of our brands now [Côte&Ciel is also stocked] was a great achievement.

Who is your mentor?

Someone early on in my career who was always there for words of wisdom was Ben Sibthorpe [currently international sales manager at jeans brand Denham], who is still a frequent point of call. He was a great person to learn from and always understanding, so it was a bonus to have that. You won’t find anybody who has a bad word to say about Ben.

What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?

That “it’s just fashion, we’re not changing the world”. Which is important because I think it’s easy to get carried away with this industry.

I think it’s how you carry yourself day to day, to have a real passion and commitment for what you are doing. Ben always set the example for everyone else to follow.

How do you see your career progressing?

I would be content if it develops in the same fashion as it already has done but I’m always looking to improve myself and learn more about this industry. The opportunity to work at Concrete Studio was too good to miss out on. I believe we are working with some of the most exciting brands around at the moment, and we are also constantly progressing as a company, looking to tastefully curate one of the best showrooms in the country as well as developing our own brands.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Work hard and don’t compromise your goals. Perhaps in the media, fashion is glamorised and viewed as a desirable career path but on our side of the fence there’s a different reality far away from fashion week, so be prepared to put in a lot of hours.

  • Salaries for this position range from £30,000 to £40,000, plus a car and some work on a commission basis too (estimate provided by CVUK)

CV

2013 UK & Ireland account manager, Concrete Studio, London
2012 UK account manager, Wolsey
2011 Store manager, Denham, London
2011 Store assistant, Present, London
2009 Design intern, British Vogue

  • If you want to be featured on the Drapers Jobs page, email james.knowles@emap.com

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