With a heavy heart, I’m leaving Vulpine.
At the end of this week I leave my post as Head of Design here at Vulpine. Later in the month I start at Burberry, heading up a new design department in a global role.
I did think I’d open this blog post with a statement along the lines of ‘just as I settle down at Vulpine, I’m leaving’. Except that would be a complete untruth, there is no such thing as settle down in a start up, or rather successful small company as we are now.
In just over two years Nick has built a company with nine staff, an exciting future ahead and has most importantly, gained much respect. To have been able to help shape that over the last sixteen months has been incredible.
Nick and I first met for a coffee in Borough Market on Tuesday 23rd of August 2011 having started a conversation around design and bikes on Twitter. Fast forward six months I was modelling the Vulpine opening range shot by Paul Calver. Six months later I was helping Vulpine with design stuff in my spare time, and six months after that had left my role designing at CHANEL to head up design at Vulpine.
Back then, Nick, Jools and I sat in a tiny office with a gravel floor and a temperamental heater, my desk a bowing sheet of MDF between two trestles. It’s good to look back and remember that. We’ve achieved a lot since.
I’ve learnt a lot too. In a company of ~3 employees #getshitdone is the only mantra. You’ve gotta get on with it, there’s no team to pass the work to. You're forced to make decisions quickly and honestly, and that above all to never to take ourselves too seriously, just the work we do.
I’ll take all this with me.
A few of my 'grams. Our mantra, exhibiting at the V&A and riding with Nick when he first offered me a job.
I have done a few talks about leaving the world of comparatively corporate luxury fashion to join Vulpine. Something I’d picked up from David at the Do Lectures was Love Pays Well in the End. I have always loved cycling, let's be frank, there’s isn’t as much money in this as luxury fashion but I knew it would be fun.
Oh boy it's been fun…
We’ve exhibited at the V&A, run the most creative photoshoots, weathered the storm of late stock, set up departments, made ourselves more efficient, designed and produced great product worn by the greats, held fetes with the Maccabees, met and collaborated with names I hold the upmost respect for.
As with all startups, as they grow, people are hired to specialise in certain areas.
From next week, Edwin who I’ve worked with for many years will work on design, the other James Greig (yes, really!) will act as consultant on all things digital, having already worked on our Lookbooks, and we are already working with some incredible product designers for our coming ranges.
So leaving what I’ve loved won’t be easy. However, as a truly design led business, Burberry is a pretty exciting proposition – hell, there aren’t many global corporates with a designer at the helm as CEO. I’m excited to be working in a completely new area of their business and look forward to leading a brilliant team.
And then there’s my other half who lives in New York, which isn’t really a sustainable commute. Despite my best efforts to open a Vulpine office in NYC, I think we’re a few years off that! A global job will mean more trips, and a move out there in the future? Well that’d be nice… 😉
So many great photoshoots. Making constant iterative improvements, and your new Head of Design. (Not really).
In a Oscar speech-esque close to my final blog post, a nod a few folk; Not individually, but to the ones who pushed me to join Vulpine, to the ones who didn’t and were proved wrong. To the suppliers who helped us grow, to the ones who didn’t and made us stronger. To those of you who’ve given us your advice, time and expertise. Finally to our customers, many of whom I’ve become friends with, spreading our word and keeping us going.
So with a heavy, excited heart, I’m off. x