It must be great to be part of a brand’s journey?
“I don’t think there’s anything more satisfying than that. I think that’s one of the reasons why the established brands get involved in supporting new brands – it’s hugely satisfying to see new ideas and see new businesses flourish. It’s also a two-way street; yes, you’re sharing work with the new generation, but you’re also getting new ideas that can be taken back to your own company. It’s a symbiotic process.”
When you’re choosing the brands to work with, is the person behind the idea as important as the idea itself?
“The founder is essential to the personality and the vision of the brand. Their energy, drive, commitment and belief is the key ingredient. They also need to have a fantastically solid business plan.”
You came into your role at Walpole with Brexit looming and luxury looking like it was potentially going to take a hit. Saying that, with so many applicants to the Brands of Tomorrow programme and so many new brands coming onto the scene, is the outlook generally quite positive?
“It’s potentially a tricky time to start a business, but that shouldn’t put you off, because actually if you look back to the horrible recession of 2008, quite a lot of businesses started out really well. There are always problems for investment, that’s the same in any market in any business sector, but the customer is spiking.
“One interesting point about some of the new brands we’re working with is that quite a few of them have been founded by people who are on their second or third career and decided to set up their own business.
“Brexit is a challenge for everything. On the whole, I’m focused on beyond Brexit, into the opportunities that exist in markets like the US, China and the Middle East. I think there’s never been a better time for British luxury brands, Brexit be damned – the world really loves British-made products.”