I’m from Bristol originally but came to Salcombe with my parents on holiday as a child and then we moved down here permanently. I founded a company called Quba Sails in 1996, which we expanded to 14 shops and a successful online presence. I’m proud of what I achieved there; it gave me the confidence to embark on a new brand and to take the risk of putting my own name to it!
It’s the summer in Salcombe, so the town is beginning to get a lot busier, and our business is just coming up for a year old. We’ve rolled out several new product lines in the past few weeks and hopefully the visitors to Salcombe will like what we’re doing. I’m keen to get their feedback and evolve what we do to meet demand. The bags we’ve launched since Easter, for instance, are a direct result of listening to our customers’ comments and doing our best to fulfill their requirements.
Being ‘afflicted’ with a creative mind, I’m always exploring new concepts, and this is an idea I’ve had for a while; there just hadn’t been time to look into it properly. Once that changed, I was able to devote time to researching it thoroughly. I knew it was going to be complicated; it’s never been tried before on this kind of scale – we’re using hundreds of fabrics – and then there’s the personalisation element too. But I simply had to see it through to fruition. It was really important to me to get the retail space right too. Even if they don’t make a purchase, I want visitors to my shop to leave with a true sense of wonder.
I love vintage. I love products that have a history, where every mark or scratch tells a story and adds to the interest value. That’s another reason I’ve loved working with leather; every so-called ‘flaw’ in the leather tells a story too and makes each cut so truly unique. I think a successful brand should appeal to all the senses.
Follow your heart. Take time to research. I had the luxury of time to give in-depth thought to a concept, and to refine it gradually over the weeks and months – I realise that’s not always possible or practical. I’d also say to surround yourself with a great team and have fun at work but don’t lose sight of what you’ve set out to achieve. Keep control of the reins.
To continue developing new product ranges to meet the demands of our customers. I’ve already mentioned the new bags; there’s also our new key ring bar, which I’m really excited about. We’ve had an encouraging start but I never want to get complacent; I want us to continue to get better and better at what we do, while staying true to our roots and core values – like remaining a truly British brand.
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