How I got here - Elizabeth Grew
Published: 14 Apr 2014 By James Knowles
What does your diary look like today?
It is mostly structured around appointments and consultations with people. For my new clients I’ll be building designs, tailoring and getting a full-body profile, making sure it’s suitable for the purpose they want it for and testing durability.
What task are you most looking forward to today?
I’ve got a couple of people coming in: a new wedding party that we’ve looked at designs for, so we’re confirming their designs, and then I’ll be seeing one of my loyal customers who I always look forward to working with. I always
know it’s something more creative and bizarre each time, so it’s always fun and exciting to see their style develop.
How did you get to where you are today?
I was always quite creative at school, setting myself projects. I made myself a waistcoat once because I wanted to jazz up my uniform, for example. I got really into fabrics, creating lampshades, costumes and anything I could, so I then went to university to study Fashion & Textile Retailing in Manchester. That was a fantastic opportunity and gave me a sense of fabrics, design and construction right through to designing, merchandising and management. It was a really good experience and enabled me to work out where to specialise. I spent a bit of time doing investment consultancy, which gave me experience of serving customers and the ability to hone those skills. Having already worked for various fashion retailers during university, I knew I wanted to work in the industry but that the high street wasn’t for me, so that’s when I got into my consultative one-to-one tailoring. It’s much more suitable for me. I started at A Suit That Fits’ Manchester studio and now I’m managing the London City Road studio, right at the centre of everything, which has been a great boost.
What has been your career highlight?
I would say coming down to London. Making the move did a huge amount for my con dence, and watching my team grow and taking responsibility for visual merchandising has been great. Because I’ve worked one-to-one with customers, you can see what works and what doesn’t, so to impact that from a higher level as a manager has been really exciting.
Who is your mentor?
I’ve had a couple of mentors. When I started up north with A Suit That Fits I had my training alongside northern area manager Jonathan Haynes, and that opened my eyes to the creativity that can be found in suiting and to play with it, have fun and to really just see how hard people work for customers. It really inspired me to go the extra mile for everyone, and since I moved down here, my new London area manager Daniel Warwick shoots for the stars and gives me the confidence to make the most of every opportunity.
What’s the best piece of advice they’ve given you?
Daniel has always told me to just have con dence and believe in myself. He’s really drilled that into me and it’s a great mantra to keep.
How do you see your career progressing?
The City Road studio has improved, so I’d like to take what I’ve done up to the next level and roll that out as an area manager.
What’s your favourite suit you’ve worked on?
That has to have been a very simple, black, well-fitted suit, which was quite chic with a really loud purple and gold lining.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Always be proud of what you’re representing. If you genuinely believe in what you’re doing and believe that you can give the best, then that translates so much. There’s always going to be comments and I think any advice or criticism is constructive, so take that and build on it.
If you could work in any other area of fashion, which would it be?
I would choose to project manage catwalk shows or work in costume design as I love theatre.