Taking advantage of every opportunity and planning for the next ten years were the key tips shared by five of Drapers’ 30 under 30 rising stars as Drapers Next Generation 2015 kicked off this morning at 30 Euston Square in London.
Speaking to an audience of over 300 first, second and third jobbers from the fashion industry, Matthew Williamson communications director Rosanna Falconer said waking up extra early is the best way to get ahead. “Wake up really early and two hours extra hours out of every day and you can change the world.”
Starting out at the British Fashion Council as a marketing assistant, Falconer branched out into digital marketing, mixing her love of fashion and online. Now as communications director at fashion house Matthew Williamson, the youngest director at the company, Falconer oversees both the digital and PR side of the brand. Falconer said that having a digital person in charge of communications is a natural fit.
“It shows the growing importance of digital roles and skills,” she said. “Through digital you are communicating with a global audience and you quickly find your tone of voice, which is so important in social.”
No stranger to working long hours, Daniel Murray co-founder of fashion app Grabble, advised the audience to think carefully about the challenges of running a start-up business: “The times when you’re in the office until midnight on a Saturday I sometimes think that a job would have been easier. There’s a lot of buzz out there around doing your own thing and it’s exciting but not something you can enter into lightly.”
“The hype needs to levelled out with reality of working 24/7 and you can’t prepare for the next challenge. You just have to do your research and work on your gut instinct.”
Having a clear brand strategy and identity has helped Grabble grow from a team of two to ten, raising over £1m in investment. “However, my proudest moment from a company point of view was being featured by Apple as one of best new apps in 34 countries. You can’t buy that kind of publicity,” he added.
For Amazon head of styling Marie Davies, taking every opportunity that presents itself is crucial. Davies moved on from the Drapers fashion desk into working with brands and ecommerce. Davies said she relished the challenge of joining Amazon and helping make consumers aware of the fashion side of the brand.
Masterminding the upcoming launch of a multi-million pound 46,000sq ft fashion studio in London’s Shoreditch is the biggest achievement of her career so far. “It is a huge undertaking to migrate the studios from Germany and France to London and to recruit 15-20 stylists just in London,” she said.
Davies advised the audience to think where they want to be in 10, five and two years, which is more attainable and work towards those goals. “It’s also really important to have a mentor inside or outside the business to help give you a fresh perspective,” says Davies.
Becoming a regional manager of 26 stores with the turnover of £19m at the age of 26 meant Kelly Duparcq, concession team leader Bonmarche, had to influence leadership at all levels. “To stand out you have to have integrity and passion, as well as the determination to deliver results. For me being a store manager at 18 and breaking store sales records was so rewarding. You have to take any opportunity you can to progress,” Duparcq advised.
Having an uncompromising attention to detail and endeavouring to make the best possible product are the key qualities that help you stand out as a buyer, advises John Lewis men’s formalwear buyer Tom Saunders who decided to learn vocationally, rather than through undertaking a buying degree. “Buying is all about selection. If I bought everything I wanted I wouldn’t be commercial, so you have to know the financials,” he adds.