Owner, Purple Menswear, aged 28
Paul Monks admits that he fell into fashion despite studying Sports Science at college, but says he has never looked back. He opened Harpenden indie Purple Menswear during the recession four years ago and has managed to establish a thriving business.
Purple Menswear was profitable by year two, opened a second floor in year three, was named one of Drapers’ Inspiring Independents for 2013 and was shortlisted in the Best New Business category at the Drapers Independent Awards last year.
Monks advises people to “learn from your mistakes”. He adds: “If you have someone to hold your hand you will never learn what does and doesn’t work. As long as it’s not a costly mistake you can take positives out of everything you do.”
Chris Akrimi, sales director of supplier Zone Two, says Monks’ ambition sets him apart: “He knows about fashion and style but he also knows what his customer wants and the two can be quite different. It’s a good trait that will see him influencing the industry for years to come.”
Monks hopes to open two more stores, but for now is focusing on Made to Order - a made-to-measure service offered by Garmtec, a joint venure between AMF Reece and Czech manufacturer Bernhardt.