Musings


Menswear Buyer Article | April 2014

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I’ve had the curious experience of being the subject of a documentary. Well, let me clarify that.

For two days, a four person strong marketing team from Copenhagen accompanied me around my daily routine, interviewing and photographing as they went. They had been commissioned by my hopefully soon-to-be licensing and franchising partners in India. The purpose is to finish up with a media pack that can be shown to Indian shopping mall owners, to sway them to grant my franchisees the best locations for Simon Carter stores.

We did the conventional stuff; visited Mayfair, Crystal Palace and Blackheath and spent time in all the stores. The Blackheath visit entailed me standing somewhat vulnerably in the middle of the road while traffic scooted past on both sides, trying to ‘act natural’. Hopefully I managed to keep the look of fear from my eyes.

The first evening, we dined at my club, The Union, in Soho. It’s a small unfussy private members club inside an 18th century town house. Sort of a mini Soho House but without the hype and attitude. They loved it; it does look particularly English with ox blood red walls and all manner of curiousities on the walls.

For their last evening I invited them to my home in South London, as they particularly wanted to get inside the ‘mind of the brand’, heaven help them. My long suffering Marketing Manager, Jess, was roped in to help make the risotto and after several bottles of wine, we all began to unwind.

Just when I thought I could truly switch off, they began with the ‘deep’ questions. For them, the essence of a brand is not in what it does, but ‘why.’ And it certainly is a good question. It did make me think. As the name above the door, ‘why’ do I do this? It’s not really for the money, so there must be more to it. The best I could come up with was because I believe that I’m offering genuinely good product that’s affordable. But it all sounded a bit bland and predictable.

In truth, I didn’t have the answer that night. I’ll let you know when I’ve figured it out.


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