Oliver Spencer’s formula for success

One of Britain’s most creative minds, Oliver Spencer, speaks of how “Four Weddings and a Funeral” helped him turn from a second-hand seller of clothing in London’s open stores to a merchant in Toronto and New York.

Practice over Theory: Spencer attended art school for only six months because he likes his own style more and he could not stand the fact that someone else is teaching him. After quitting school, he started retailing second-hand clothes in Portobello Market in London. There, he learned about the value of money, and buying and selling. For him, his knowledge was derived from actual application rather than education.

Work 24/7 if needed: One must be ready to work for long hours. As for his own experience, he and his friends always have non-stop talk regarding business. He works during holidays, and if needed, he willingly sends emails at 4 am. For him, having a business is a whole-life job, not part-time or full-time.

Ensure core working idea: Consider a combination of creative ideas. In his case, he has two notice boards in his shop’s basement that he and his staff can see. To be more productive, he encourages his staff to communicate with each other constantly so they can talk and exchange ideas.

Everything matters: Spencer recalled that he repainted the wall of his store on Lambs Conduit Street in order to achieve the type of red that fits him. Work on the minute details because they surely count.

Don’t accept “NO”: Once, he had a knitwear piece and he wanted to change the colour from navy blue to dark blue. However, he was told that for him to be able to do that, he needs midway stripe below the body. What he did was he devised his own technique in knitting that allowed him to downgrade the colour. The lesson is, if you’re told that you can’t do something, find a solution for you to do it your own way.

Understand your customers: He is aware that his catwalk models are the representation of his patrons. Those models embody London’s people who are multicultural and diverse. In his business, he likes dressing up people who are interesting and those who have idea about life.