Last week, we invited sales specialist Philip Rouse to share his experience at Sarabande: the Lee Alexander McQueen foundation. Philip represents Martine Rose and Wales Bonner, among others, and knows the world of sales inside and out. Being a veteran in the industry, he couldn’t resist a touch of pessimism, explaining how the industry is too fast and over-saturated. He did leave us with a list of advice for emerging designers and, to add a touch of glee to an otherwise gloom career prospect, we asked Paris and Nicole to help illustrate it.


– Do I have a viable product (range/pricing/execution)?
Perhaps ‘merchandise planning’ in terms of jersey and access points isn’t really relevant early on?

Do I have the means (financial/human/manufacturing resources) to produce potential orders?

Do I have an overarching strategy (positioning/distribution/growth ambition) that informs design/brand development moving forward? Consider ideal adjacencies – aesthetic, price point, practice – help the showroom understand you. Think of your business plan as a roadmap or operating manual for the months (and years) ahead.


Consider alternative business practices (communications/connections/presentations) versus industry ‘best’/paradigmatic practices.

Authentic engagement, how this can lead to better performance down the line?

There’s different aspects to a ‘sale’ – familiarise yourself with the workflow: outreach, appointment, follow through, terms negotiation, invoicing, etc.


Cash is the oxygen of the business. Growth costs money.

Don’t give up the day job – this puts enormous pressure on your entrepreneurial endeavours very early on

How do you want to live? Start with lifestyle and consider how what you do today is facilitating the manifestation of that vision.