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How Taking Risks Paid Off For This Fashion Industry Leader

Article in Forbes featuring Debra Hepburn, founder of YBD.

Contributor - Bianca Barratt 

If you’ve ever found yourself rolling your eyes at the idea of “fashion”, cast your mind back to the famous The Devil Wears Prada scene in which Miranda Priestley (played so cuttingly by Meryl Streep) completely eviscerates Andy Sachs for failing to understand its relevance. In a two minute take town, Priestley points out that Andy’s outfit – chosen as a way to “exempt” herself from the fashion industry – was inadvertently picked out for her by the people in that very room… “from a pile of stuff”.

There’s no denying that fashion is a serious business. From the outfits we wear to work, to the towels we use on the beach, it infiltrates our daily lives in ways that many of us haven’t stopped to contemplate. According to the British Fashion Council, the fashion industry directly contributed £32.3B to the UK GDP in 2017 and supplies the UK economy with 890,000 jobs.

One of the industry’s leading entrepreneurs is Debra Hepburn- the co-founder of Young British Designers (YBD). Launched in September 2010, YBD has become the UK’s leading supporter of fresh talent, offering new fashion designers a platform from which to sell their collections to a global audience. Since its inception, its represented over 300 designers and has helped launch the careers of some of the UK’s most successful exports, including JW Anderson and Kate Sheridan.

By buying the stock outright, Hepburn has ensured that the company not only makes a profit but also that the designers are supported financially right from the off. As such, the company has been able to achieve a 250% financial growth in its first seven years.

Here Hepburn shares her insights on running two companies (she is also the founder and CEO of RBH – a creative communications agency), nurturing a team and developing a leadership style.

Read the full article here.

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