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My fashion life - Jenny MacDonald

Ruby Rocks’ co-founder tells us about the launch of its first menswear range and why it shuns trade shows.

Colour burst: spring 14 Brandon

Colour burst: spring 14 Brandon

What can you tell us about the menswear line just launched by Ruby Rocks?

Last month we launched Brandon, our new menswear collection, because we’ve been asked so many times for Ruby Rocks prints on men’s shapes. We have around six stockists for it already and lots of appointments booked in over the next few weeks.

There are approximately 30 pieces in the collection, but with mixing and matching between the shapes and prints the possible option pool is doubled.

How many stockists does Ruby Rocks womenswear have?

More than 300 in the UK, including Asos, Joy and Dorothy Perkins, and an ever-growing presence in the US, Europe, Africa and the Middle East and Far East.

What sets Ruby Rocks apart from other brands?

We make to order and stockists can freestyle between our shapes and prints, which makes what they order exclusive to them.

No other brand in our genre can offer this on short order. We draw and design our own prints too and the fabric is great quality.

What does your role involve on a day-to-day basis?

Isabella Przedpelski [the brand’s co-founder] handles the design side and production, while I’m the front-of-house person. I deal with all our customers and stockists and the day-to-day running of our showroom on Great Portland Street as well as the finances.

I also do all of our social media and press.

What were you doing before you joined Ruby Rocks?

I did graphic design at the University of Luton and started as a knitwear consultant in 1990, based in Harrods. Then I was offered a job as a buyer’s clerk in Harrods’ women’s knitwear.

I was working at Bhs a few years later as a merchandiser, then as a buyer and merchandiser for a premium independent called Tokyo in County Donegal, Ireland. I then became a sales agent in Dublin working for brands such as Miss Moneypenny, but I really wanted to work for something of my own. I’d seen Isabella’s designs from her previous brand, Ya Mama, and thought they were amazing, so then we started up our own brand together. We showed for the first time at Margin in February 2007.

How has the market changed in the past year or so?

The biggest change we have seen has been the shift from forward ordering to short-call production orders and weekly orders from our stock-held collection.

What trade shows will you visit this season?

We won’t exhibit at any because we have the showroom and our stockists prefer not to have to go to trade shows to see us as they find it too stressful. They always have to queue to see us and prefer to make an appointment and visit the showroom where they can relax, see the whole collection and take their time in making the right choices.

Do you usually pick up many new stockists at trade shows?

We do usually pick up new international business and a small percentage from the UK, but mostly we see our existing stockists at the shows.

What has been your best-selling piece recently?

Our best-selling shapes so far this season have been our shirt dresses, boyfriend blazers and kimonos. Our most popular prints have been our vintage bamboo and our kestrel.

What big trends are you banking on for spring 14?

We can’t wait to see our shirt dresses go from strength to strength as we have new prints and shapes coming in. We are doing a lot of co-ordinated pieces combining vintage-inspired crop tops with cute pencil skirts and cropped trousers. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t in this job?

I love filmmaking, so maybe something in the film industry.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Keeping everything going all at the same time!

And the best?

Seeing the new ranges when they come out.

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