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Patricia Salkeld

Design consultant, Hotsquash

What does your job involve?

Working at [women’s casualwear and workwear brand] HotSquash, which is a new brand, I get involved with everything and my job involves me drawing on the experience I’ve amassed over my career. As we’re delivering something new, combining fashion with hidden technology [HotSquash uses fabric technology to keep wearers warm in winter and cool in summer], I work closely on fabric development which is a key part of the brand.

I develop the colour palette and themes for the season, design the range, work closely with our team to develop and fit the full range and see it through to production. The fact we are a small team means I can get involved with branding, styling and photo shoots. So it’s been an amazing opportunity to be so involved in a fantastic start-up company, and it’s great working on a growing brand while bringing something new to the market.

This is only the brand’s third season and it has already had a fantastic response from customers and the press, which makes it all worthwhile.

What skills do you need?

You need lots of creativity and vision. You have to be able to multi-task and get things done on time. Everyone is very hands-on at HotSquash and very passionate about the brand, which is what you need to push it forward.

What do you like and dislike about your job?

I love working on a growing brand that you can influence in a big way, and it works for me in particular because it allows me to work around having three young children. It’s great being able to develop and follow the range through every stage, have creative control and be very hands-on. It can be very frustrating working for such a small company because you have to work so much harder to get people to support you, whereas that was much easier in the past when I worked for big high street names.

How did you get to where you are today?

I think it’s probably been down to hard work, having a good track record of delivering ranges that sell and meeting and working with some amazing people that believe in you.

What’s your proudest career achievement to date?

It has to be when – under owner Richard Caring – I started up formalwear business ICD, which is a supplier to Next womenswear. It was small starting out, but we had a great team to work with. We delivered a fantastic product, on time, which then successfully sold. Being such a small team, it was very hands-on and we all worked hard to grow the business. It was amazing seeing it quickly grow into one of Next’s largest formalwear suppliers. It then went on to be taken over by Next to become its first ‘in-house supplier’. It was a very exciting place to work.

What’s your ambition?

To continue to design amazing collections, to develop the design team and turn HotSquash into a global brand.

How do you intend to get there?

With lots of hard work and hopefully a little bit of luck.

What three words sum you up?

Creative, ambitious and – with three children – busy.

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

Work hard, have a clear idea of where you want to get to and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. 

CV

2010  Design consultant, HotSquash

2001  Design director, Next Sourcing

1998  Design manager, ICD

1992  Designer, Claremont Garments

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