Five minutes with the founder | Kathryn Sargent
In this series, we take five minutes with the founders of our 2018 Brands of Tomorrow to shine a light on the personality and the motivation behind these new British luxury brands. This month, we spoke with Kathryn Sargent, the first female Head Cutter on Savile Row on how and why she founded her eponymous brand, where she hopes to be in 10 years, and what she might be doing in an alternative life.
Tell us about your company
Kathryn Sargent is about a return to the traditional world of real bespoke tailoring where the needs of the client come first. We pride ourselves in the fact that this is done with a modern twist, an eye, and an understanding that fashions change. We create unique contemporary pieces for men and women.
How did you build your brand?
Constant attention to customer service and the craftsmanship, promoting the best of what we do and ensuring consistent delivery.
Why did you choose to set up your business in the luxury sector?
By its nature bespoke tailoring is in the luxury space. My view was there was a gap to return to truly bespoke personally influenced tailoring – tailoring my way, which is collaborative, and solution focused.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
The people I meet and have the opportunity to build relationships with, my clients inspire me in so many ways.
What and/or who is your source of inspiration and motivation?
The great couturiers Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Balmain, Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies for their eye and skill. Robert Gieve who I had the great fortune of working with at Gieves and Hawkes for his absolute passion for the business and ability to build and motivate a team – he made us feel like an extension of the family; and tailor Malcolm Plews who is the most skill full and talented Bespoke Cutter I know, he is a true hero of mine.
If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else as I enjoy tailoring so very much, however I enjoyed Craft Design and Technology at school and love the effect of marquetry flooring, and the precision and craft that goes into it. I would love to learn to work with wood to create amazing marquetry designs for floors in grand buildings.
If you could do something differently in your career what would it be?
I would love to teach and share my skills, I do so in my business with my team, but can imagine doing it on a much larger scale in the future. I would also love to write – perhaps a tailoring manual and an autobiography, I have so many stories to tell it would be great to get them down on paper.
Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years’ time?
In a grand townhouse in London’s Mayfair that will be a real true home for British craftsmanship and fine tailoring. I very much see myself still working in this business and developing it having built my team and extended my offering and service.
What does success look like to you?
Every time a client tells me that someone stopped them in the street to compliment them on their suit, or that people have responded differently to them but in a very positive way because of their bespoke tailoring it feels wonderful. When it comes to bespoke I feel that success should look effortless, although we know how much hard work has taken place behind the scenes, that is the beauty of it.
What advice do you have for any young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Plan, research, be thorough, be conservative, remain optimistic and true to your own beliefs.