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Drapers 30 Under 30 2018: Amy Barker, owner, Monks Clothing

Age: 28

Amy Barker

Amy Barker

What she’s learnt: ”Try to be two steps ahead. Initiative can be hard to come by.”

After struggling to find a retail head office role because she did not have a fashion degree, in 2013 and aged just 23, Amy Barker chose to forge her own path through the fashion industry and open contemporary men’s and women’s wear independent Monks Clothing in West Malling.

Armed with savings and a grant from the Start Up Loans Company, secured on the basis of her detailed business plan, she bought stock and refurbished a former bakery. Monks Clothing is now in its fifth year of trading and is continuing to grow, a point of pride for Barker.

“We have beaten the statistics in a difficult economy, amid decline on the high street,” she tells Drapers. “I have seen businesses set up in my local town – by experienced people with significant financial backing – fail in the time that Monks has been there.

“At 28, I have a business that is growing continuously month on month, and I see that as a massive achievement.”

Her efforts wre recognised in 2015, when Monks Clothing was named Best New Business at the Drapers Independents Awards.

Barker’s next goals include building a wedding offer at Monks Clothing and developing the online side of the business, as well as mentoring others who want to follow in her footsteps and start out on their own.

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