Gareth Locke learnt how to build a business when he joined Holland Cooper, then a fledging luxury label, in 2009.
“I learnt everything from production to marketing, finance and sales,” he tells Drapers. “Starting a brand that is made in Britain meant we had to be hands on and become an expert in everything to make the company viable with a very lean roster of staff.”
After cutting his teeth at Holland Cooper, Locke launched his own shirting brand, Locson, in 2013. Realising that his true passion lay more in the commercial side of the industry and scaling growing businesses, he moved into consulting for start-up British brands in 2015 and began working with Holland Cooper again in 2016, before moving permanently to the brand as head of ecommerce the same year. He was promoted to commercial director 12 months later.
Locke says that one of his biggest achievements to date has been pitching and launching the brand’s store at Bicester Village, which opened in November last year. Originally offered a 400 sq ft space at the Oxfordshire discount shopping outlet, a strong pitch from Locke led to the brand being given a significantly larger 2,000 sq ft store for a six-month incubator period. Just three months in and the success of the store meant Holland Cooper was offered a permanent space at Bicester.
Burberry’s chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci is an inspirational figure for Locke: “The way Tisci has taken on Burberry last year and made the brand look so different and so relevant is something I really admire. Putting his own stamp on the brand, and taking it into a new phase was a bold and strong move.”