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Talk Straight | Think Smart with Simon Carter

Talk Straight | Think Smart with Simon Carter

It all started with a vintage brooch. In this episode, we speak to men's fashionwear designer Simon Carter and hear how he took a chance on his side-hustle to create a brand that punches well above its weight.

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I know the brand, you know the market. So let's work that together to come up with Simon Carter that works for India.

Simon Carter
Entrepreneur

Simon Carter was always surrounded by good taste growing up, and both his parents had their own businesses. Is it any wonder he went on to build his own successful men's fashionwear brand?

Simon's interest in vintage shops and design led him to a trainee menswear buyer position at Fenwick department store. However, a few years in Simon took a chance on his "side-hustle". In this podcast, Simon walks us through his success to date. From the brooch that inspired it all, to the decisions he took to grow his business to where it is today.

The Simon Carter brand hasn’t grown without its fair share of issues and challenges. This includes hard copy trade mark applications being damaged in a flood in Deli... only to be blown away while drying on the street.

And of course when the world went into a global hibernation due to COVID-19 Simon questioned how many of their brand partnerships would survive. But Simon leaves us with the sense that they're more energised than ever as they prepare to emerge from the pandemic.

We hope this podcast gives you an interesting insight behind the scenes of a successful entrepreneur and the business he's built. Subscribe to our Talk Straight | Think Smart with Howard Kennedy series to hear future episodes from a wide range of inspirational entrepreneurs.

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Quick fire round

Each episode we ask our guests quick fire questions. Hover below to see what this revealed about this week's guest, Simon Carter....

How often do you wear Simon Carter?

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Seven days a week – I get them for free!

Suited and booted on Zoom?

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Zoom's the "new business" - it's jacket and shirt.

Would you grow, sell, or start again?

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Grow it - so I can sell it and start again.

People or tech - where would you invest?

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Absolutely convinced it's about getting the right people.

Perfectionist or launch and learn?

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I can be very gung-ho. Give it a go and regret later...or should I say learn later.

A little more about this episode...

Simon Carter was always surrounded by good taste growing up, and both his parents had their own businesses. Is it any wonder he went on to build his own successful men's fashionwear brand?

After drawing a line under studying science, Simon's interest in vintage shops and design led him to retail. He put all his savings into replicating a vintage motorcyclist brooch before knocking on doors along the Kings Road in London to sell them. At that time Simon had a job as a trainee menswear buyer at Fenwick department store. However a few years in Simon took a chance on his "side-hustle".

In this episode, Simon walks us through his success to date; from the brooch that inspired it all, to the approach he took to grow his business to where it is today.

With a tight-knit core team, Simon has created a brand that punches above its weight with a footprint that is far-reaching. Ex-wife and closest friend Wendy does the financial side allowing Simon the space to be creative. Brand partners have been a big factor in the success of Simon Carter internationally. Listen to Simon describe what it takes to make brand partnerships work.

The Simon Carter brand hasn’t grown without their fair share of issues and challenges. This includes hard copy trade mark applications being damaged in a flood in Deli. The solution was to take the papers outside on the street to dry… unfortunately this only made things worse and around 185 000 trade mark applications blew away.

And when the world went into a global hibernation due to COVID-19 Simon questioned how many of their brand partnerships would survive. But Simon's explanation of their agile response leaves us with the sense that they're more energised than ever as they prepare to emerge from the pandemic.

Simon's ambition? He wants to grow his business - grow it so he can sell it and start again.

His approach? He's a "give-it-a-go" and learn later kind of guy. He relates is back to his approach when he plays competitive croquet for England where "if you don't take the risk you'll miss the chance".

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