We go behind the scenes with Donna Ida Managing Director, Kim Draper, to get the top tips on her career, her everyday essentials and all things Donna Ida.
Name: Kim Draper
Job Role: Managing Director
What does your current job involve?
My role is very varied, I oversee the running of the whole business (except for the buying I stay out of that and leave it to the experts). When I first started at Donna Ida I was the only ‘Head Office’ staff member and our offices were based in what is now the Chelsea store back room. In those days Donna and I used to talk about how great it will be when we are big enough to have a team working under us! We have worked really hard to get where we are today but it has been a lot of fun along the way.
What are your biggest achievements?
Each new Donna Ida boutique opening is a big achievement; you learn new things and how to do it better every time. Every time one is completed I feel really proud of what we have achieved.
Recently re-launching the Donna Ida website was also a big achievement – I love the online environment, it’s so dynamic and fast-paced. We still have so much more to do to develop the site so once I am satisfied with where we are with that I think it will be my biggest achievement.
When/what was your big break?
My friend was reminding me the other day how excited I was when I was 18 and I got what was then my ‘dream job’ working in retail at my favourite designer Karen Walker – I guess that was my big break into the fashion industry and things have just grown from there. I think it was essential to my career to have an understanding of how things work from shop floor level.
What is the best part of the job?
My most exciting projects include opening new stores and running the website. Donna and I usually decide together where we think the next store will be located and then I make it happen from negotiating leases to project managing the shop fitters and architects.
The website has always been my little baby ever since I started in 2008 and convinced Donna that we had to invest in a transactional website. I ran it on my own for the first 2 years doing everything from graphics to processing orders but now I am lucky enough to have a dedicated web team to work with.
What is your past experience?
Before I moved to the UK from New Zealand and started working at Donna Ida I was the Sales & Marketing Manager at NZ Fashion Label Ruby, before that I was a part-time Retail Assistant at Karen Walker while I completed my Masters of Commerce degree.
What are your everyday essentials?
Skinny jeans – I wear them almost every day. I like to play with colour and texture to mix it up a little but I can’t go past skinny styles. My favourite brands are J Brand, Current/Elliott and Stella McCartney.
Rosebud Salve Lip Balm – I LOVE lip balm that is a bit glossy but also soft and moisturizing on the lips.
What is your best industry advice?
If you want a career in fashion it’s a good idea to get some retail experience while you are studying, it is good to get an understanding of how it works from the shop floor/end-consumer perspective. Knowing what your customer wants is key to any business!