For those of you who are not familiar with this event, Drapers Next Generation is a day designed for individuals trying to reach the top in the fashion industry. Specifically for those who are ambitious, passionate, motivated and most importantly dedicated to their career and focused on developing themselves as young professionals.
It is an all day event with interviews and speeches from some of the most successful people in the retail industry, highlighting their views on fashion retail, their business strategy, their success story, whats next for them and the advice they would give to the younger generation.
This years event had a fantastic selection of guest speakers and i was lucky enough to have been nominated by my company to attend. As you can imagine i was so excited and eager to hear what they had to say.
Guest speakers included Andy Rubin – CEO of Pentland brands, his speech was phenomenal and so inspiring, he is an incredibly successful business man and his presentation was mostly about the retail markets and how they are evolving. Main points were how international markets are growing and how there is massive opportunity for growth in China, where it has been predicted that by 2022 China will account for a quarter of the global retail sales. In addition to China, other emerging markets to invest are Brazil, Russia and India.
Rubin spoke about how the way we shop and payment methods are changing. E-commerce is the new way to shop, not just in fashion but across all retail sectors. He mentioned a term disintermediation which is basically cutting out the middle person such as travel agents, consumers are now able to get all the information they need on the internet and make their own purchases easily. Payment methods are changing as the fast pace in which technology is evolving means within the next 5-10 years our smart phones will be our new purse/wallet.
Paul Marchant – CEO of Primark, was the final guest speaker of the day and he was really interesting to hear, as you are all aware Primark is a rapidly growing name and is one of todays biggest high street retailers. what was really interesting was hearing about how they were able to grow at such speed when selling goods at such low costs.
His words were to keep it simple. Keeping overheads low, investing in properties which allowed them to use the space above as their head offices at no extra cost. Having a limited presence on the internet, preventing extra expenditure on web design and quite simply relying on cost prices based on volume buys to deliver enough sales to cover these low costs and therefore producing bottom line profit.
We had two speakers from two different brands talking about brand building;
Ben Dickens, creative design from Farrell. Farrell is Robbie Williams menswear company, operating on a small scale but delivering high end garment.
Scott Morrison, commercial and marketing director, Diesel.
Diesel is a well established company operating on a global scale known for its 5 pocket jeans and leather. It was interesting to hear how they have been around for so long and still holding a very respectable presence in the market. His advise was; finding what works for your customer and being consistent. He mentioned staying true to your heritage, when this company was first starting up all garments were hand made however, as the company exapnded to keep up with demand they invested in mass producing technologies like most brands. However, Diesel still use hand made methods in their denim garments to achieve certain finishes.
Morrison’s key to success is being able to grow your business, improve product ranges and expanding their consumer base without steering away from their brand DNA.
Julie Deane, what an incredible lady! For those of you who havent seen her Google advert for the Cambridge Satchel company – view it now by clicking here.
Her success story was very different to the others and inspiring on so many levels. Julie Deane, a mum of 2 decided to start her business to generate enough money to send her children to the best school, because they were getting bullied. She started her business with just £600 and four years on now has a turnover of 15 million a year. Oh and did i mention she did not borrow any money to get to where she is. That is impressive. I loved listening to Julie Deane, i found her down to earth, genuine and simply adorable. Her story is one which demonstrates the power of the web, as her google advert played a huge part in the success of her business today.
Other great speakers included;
Dan Lumb, E-Commerce Director, REISS.
Simon Burstein CEO, Browns.
Michael Sharp, CEO, Debenhams
Panel guests included;
Stephanie Phair, MD, The Outnet
Liz Evans, CEO, Oasis and Warehouse
Kat Maconie, Founder, Kat Maconie
Overall i had a great day and feel even more passionate about my job and fashion than i did before – if this is even possible! Hearing all these fantastic success stories and advice has left me feeling empowered, motivated and eager to learn more, be better and achieve great things! To end the day, we were all given goodie bags followed by drinks on the 28th floor of the MILLBANK tower with a fabulous view of the city.
One of the many things I learnt that day was that being passionate will drive you to succeed, in all aspects of your life