Standing out in a well-established family business it not easy, but creative director Rohina Kumar has carved her own path at high street supplier Whispering Smith.
Kumar, who joined Whispering Smith after graduating from the University of Leeds in 2013, has an entrepreneurial mindset. She has spearheaded the introduction of several new categories at the Asos and Arcadia Group supplier, and introduced a lifestyle department in 2015. The same year, she also founded activewear brand Hoxton Haus after spotting a gap in the market for trend-driven women’s streetwear.
“Starting our lifestyle department led to us founding Hoxton Haus, because there was a limited choice in women’s streetwear, and the technical brands didn’t seem cool or trend driven,” Kumar says.
She also introduced swimwear and nightwear to Whispering Smith in 2017, oversaw the opening of a new London headquarters in Westminster last year and will launch lingerie in 2019.
Kumar’s ability to be flexible, embrace new opportunities and willingness to take risks marks her out as a rising star in retail. Growing Whispering Smith’s brands, which include young fashion label Brave Soul and menswear brand Night Addict, internationally, and developing the business’s plus-size, tall and petite ranges are all future ambitions.
She was nominated for Drapers 30 Under 30 by Just Consultancies co-founder Juls Dawson, who describes Kumar as a “force to be reckoned with”.
He adds: “She has a natural business acumen, demonstrated by the way she successfully pursues opportunities in new categories. Her constant globetrotting looking for inspiration and market awareness brings a wealth of insight that translates into sales for Whispering Smith.”