The head of sales at agency TCA Sales Group reveals the highs and lows of his career path to date.
What does your diary look like today?
It’s really full today. This morning we had a sample Sale for some of our brands, such as [menswear brand] New Man, [French menswear and womenswear brand] Vicomte A and [casualwear brand] Seal Kay, and we’re in the middle of our press days, meeting press and buyers.
Which meeting are you most looking forward to today?
I love being involved in the appointments with buyers. With how things are in the industry right now, getting an appointment is fantastic. It’s a real adrenaline rush.
Which task do you wish you could postpone?
Well, getting our Sales samples down from the fourth floor [of the Old Truman Brewery] wasn’t fun, but we did it.
How did you get to where you are today?
I began working in retail at 17 and moved to London from Derbyshire in 1998 to run Peter Werth’s first store, just off Carnaby Street. When the white collar-and-cuffs trends took off the brand was doing fantastically, so I moved into wholesale. We then started a womenswear line but that didn’t perform as well as expected and I was made redundant. I then worked for agency Focus Group selling labels such as [womenswear brand] URU, before becoming an agent for denim brand Mish Mash, and then a denim consultant for [denim brand] Hartball, before starting at TCA Sales Group.
What has been your career highlight?
Running the first Peter Werth shop. Walking down Regent Street to work I used to feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up every day. It was a really exciting time.
If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?
I might not have become an agent for Mish Mash. I was competing against cheaper brands selling jeans at £14 to £18 wholesale, when I was trying to sell them at £20 to £22. I earned only commission and didn’t have a fixed salary.
Who is your mentor?
David Summers, who was a director of Peter Werth. I learnt a lot from him and I liked the way he involved me in everything, and how he told me why he made each decision. That experience helps me in my decision-making now.
What was the best piece of advice he gave you?
That it’s all about the detail. He always told me to look past the short term and focus on the longer-term picture.
How do you see your career progressing?
The agency has come a long way in the past year. Twelve months ago we only had six brands and today we have 20, and with time and effort we can become even bigger. I see my career progressing with the agency. If I can do this long term, I’ll be very happy.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
You’ve got to love the trade and have a passion for it. Watch TV, read magazines and go in shops to keep up with the trends.
If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?
It would probably be visual merchandising, which I often do in the showrooms to create an atmosphere within the space.
Salary range: £60,000 to £80,000 (estimate provided by CVUK)
2011 Sales manager, TCA Sales Group
2008 Sales manager/denim consultant, Hartball
2005 Sales manager, Focus Group
2000 Wholesale manager, Peter Werth
1998 London flagship store manager, Peter Werth
1989 Store manager, Jon Paul Fashions, Swadlincote
1982 Sales assistant, Jon Paul Fashions, Swadlincote