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One Day Two Fashion Experts


Yesterday, 19th April, Fashion Enter had the privilege of not one, but two leading fashion experts share their industry knowledge with students, brand start-ups, designers and fashion entrepreneurs.

First up Caren Downie, former Buying Director Topshop, ASOS.com and Finery London, hosted a two-hour Masterclass on ‘How To Build a Successful Brand.’ Caren discussed what it really takes to succeed in industry, how to build a network of followers, focus on your target market along with how to generate those essential sales.

Caren also spoke about the customer’s journey and how every element from the packaging you use to your e-mail communication must be carefully considered and look cohesive with your core brand story.

Caren: “Put your customer first. What is their journey from start to finish? Consider everything from the packaging you use, your tone of voice, can you afford free returns? If not this is not essential to succeed, customers will still buy from you if you have a good product!

“With Finery London we focused on quality. We wrote a handbook on what standards we expected from our factories and ensured every factory used that handbook. We would not compromise on the quality.”

“I found Caren’s workshop really interesting and noted down lots of thoughts about how to find traction with the press and the consumer.” – Emma

“As usual I found this masterclass so useful. You always enlist great industry experts who give invaluable insights into the industry. I found Caren’s 1 to 1 at the end of the session particularly helpful.” – Katie

Caren’s Masterclass was swiftly followed by our third FC FashionMeet Up, a free networking event where like-minded individuals in industry can informally meet, have a drink, network and to hear exclusive insight from a special guest speaker.

Yesterday, talking with Jenny on the Big Black Sofa was Tina Baum, Buying Controller from River Island. Tina has over 38-years industry experience and has worked her way up from management trainee assistant buyer to head of buying to the buying executive role she has established to date.

Tina spoke about the importance of negotiation with suppliers. Brands should always negotiate with factories and understand how a garment is costed to ensure they get the best price.

Tina: “Don’t be afraid to ask what quality really means! If your product is good the customer will buy it. Negotiate with your suppliers, understand the costing of a garment, what is the fabric price, compare with another factory.”

As both experts will testify there’s a lot to think about in fashion aside from design, however both agreed that the importance of fit can never be underestimated and that product quality is essential to succeed in this competitive industry.

Lovely event! Loved it!” Janet

Watch this space for the next FC Fashion MeetUp and Big Black Sofa Conversation with an industry expert.

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