My collaborative project with the London College of Fashion has come to an end, for this year at least. Sad to say goodbye for now, but what an amazing and rewarding experience for everyone.

The student’s final presentations were professional and polished. I can honestly say that I have sat through far worse presentations from professional businesses.

Whilst I would like to take some credit for my input into their projects, sitting there listening to these bright young stars, I realised that there are so many things that ‘us hardened retail professionals’ can learn from them.


The students worked as teams. They were matched according to their different skill sets, which was necessary as the projects covered a lot of bases.

There were also some strong characters, and some highly intelligent but more quiet individuals. The teams recognised everybody’s skills, they worked together, and they gave everyone their confidence, and their voice, in the project, and for the final presentation.

It sometimes seems that when we progress through business, we begin to believe that ours is the only voice that matters. Isolation can lead to delusion. We are no use to anyone, least ourselves, when we fail to work with others.


The students delivered amazing projects, but they were not always that good. They listened to each other, and they listened to me and their lecturers.

Sometimes they swallowed their pride, agreed to disagree, took one for the team, but they never stopped listening and learning.

The day that any one of us stops listening and learning is the day that we start to stagnate, and go backwards, as people and professionals.

Being honest.

An important part of the project, on its conclusion, was for all students to write a full appraisal of the project and their individual contributions. Crucially the students will not be marked for the quality of their work, but for the honesty of their appraisal.

I have been part of many post-project reviews. Sometimes they became more like celebrations of what went well, ‘how we got away with it,’ rather than honest opinion on how to do the next project better.

Never let post-project reviews fade away, and ensure they focus on making us all better at what we do.

I am happy to say I learnt so much from collaborating with the Fashion Students from the London College of Fashion.

It looks like the students this year will attain the highest marks ever for this type of project. They should be proud of that, and so am I.

Thank you to them all.

In the meantime…

Retail people, teams ans collaboration are featured in the new book – ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an Essential Retailer’

If you’d like to read my book for many more retailer insights and best practice. And to here my thoughts on retail’s future, then that’s an excellent idea.

'Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer' Out now. Available worldwide across amazon and popular online booksellers

I hope that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may be a source of inspiration and guidance. You will also find 70 action plans and 90 retail best practice insights that may help you to assess your current weaknesses and opportunities.

Enjoy your read.