Creative director, WedgeWelly
What does your job involve?
As creative director at [wellington boots etailer] WedgeWelly, my job entails all things creative and arty from designing surface prints to product development, researching, blogging, creating newsletters and running competitions. I spend a lot of time speaking to customers to find out their likes and dislikes, thereby ensuring I can design the perfect product.
What skills do you need?
Patience. Whether I’m designing a new surface print or working with the research and development team to develop a new product, these things take time and effort, therefore lots of patience is needed. I’m a bit of a perfectionist too, so if something’s not quite right, we start again, much to the dismay of my team.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
I feel very privileged to be doing a job I love.
I love working at a fast pace under enormous pressure (I thrive under pressure), and I love the variety I experience on a day-to-day basis. I can be in the Far East developing new products one day, and at a footwear show the next, speaking to retailers and gaining insight into what the consumer wants. The only thing
I dislike about my current role is that there aren’t enough hours in the day.
How did you get to where you are today?
With a lot of hard work and a bit of luck. Sarah [Longthorn, WedgeWelly managing director] and I worked togetherat [consultancy firm] PHP and we came up with the idea of WedgeWelly with [now sales director] Mike Longthorn over an alcohol-fuelled night in, watching Glastonbury on the TV.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
When we entered the [TV series] Dragons’ Den and won investment from [Dragon and entrepreneur] Theo Paphitis. We’re very fortunate to have Theo as part of the team - his expertise, financial support and enthusiasm have completely surpassed our expectations.
What is your ambition?
I think it’s important when you work as part of a team that you all share the same values and ambitions, and luckily in our case we all do. We want to grow WedgeWelly into a global brand and make it a household name. We want to be the number one choice of footwear for those city girls who don’t normally wear wellies, but suddenly find themselves in the position of needing a pair.
How do you intend to get there?
By keeping the range fresh, therefore investing heavily in research and development.
Then, by communicating our message through marketing, public relations and advertising and, finally, extending our sales force and recruiting some of the best people in the industry to represent us.
What three words sum you up?
Enthusiastic, dynamic and fun.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t be afraid to take risks - you’ll never know if you don’t try. Surround yourself with knowledgeable people who can take you in the right direction, and be resourceful wherever you can. Starting a business can be very costly somake good friends with your bank manager.
2008 Creative director, WedgeWelly
2006 Head of product development, Logistics Institute, Hull
2003 Creative executive, PHP (automotive consultancy)