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Range of blazers and smart jackets including tweed and velvet

TRAIL BLAZERS

Be inspired by 5 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs as they tell us
how they style work blazers and jackets, and offer us some of
the secrets to their success.

Dan Murray
- Grabble


How did the idea of Grabble come to you?


In a dream. No, that would have been great, but Grabble is actually a constant process of repetition and improvement; two years ago we were a website focused on social commerce, one year ago we were just a 'Tinder for fashion' app and now, we're a leading mobile-commerce daily content app. We curate the best of new-in products from 200 top retailers and brands, ranging from high street to the lower end of luxury – including M&S.


What do you like to wear for work?


We're all about style, so as long as I look presentable, that's all that matters. I'm generally quite a versatile dresser – I feel as comfortable in a plain preppy shirt and blazer teamed with chinos as I do in a sweatshirt, jeans and a pair of Stan Smith high tops. When it comes to blazers, as long as it’s stylish and fits well, that's far more important to me than it being versatile and hard-wearing. You want it to make you look sharp, everything else is secondary. I'm also quite an expressive dresser and enjoy fairly loud statement shirts. The fact that prints are in this season is great for me – I can wear the other half of my wardrobe again.!


What’s the best piece of career advice you would give as a successful entrepreneur?


It’s good to have a glass-half-full demeanour. I think it’s hard to survive mentally as an entrepreneur without that, particularly when you hire people with families and realise you're responsible for feeding them! Another key learning is that when everything's going well, it's about to turn bad, and when everything is going terribly, something great is around the corner. It's a pretty consistent trend sadly, but it's also kind of great to know – so I'm always prepared.

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Jez Galaun
– Brixton Brewery


How did the idea of Brixton Brewery come to you?


Rolling back to a Saturday morning in 2009, a friend invited me to visit a microbrewery in Bermondsey. I was blown away – not just by the flavour of their beer, but that beer could be produced so well on such a small scale. I call it my 'eureka moment. It took another two years and a chance conversation with a neighbour before I decided to start the brewery though. That's when we went from neighbours to co-founders.


What do you like to wear for work?


I dressed smartly in my previous life but things are much more casual now. I'm constantly covered in yeast and hops, so tend to wear jeans and work shirts. When I’m in the factory I might throw on a jumper over the top, like now. However customers can drop in at a moment’s notice,so I keep a smart blazer to throw on in the office – or for meetings with the bank manager.


What’s the best piece of career advice you would give as a successful entrepreneur?


There's no substitute for experience. We're in an industry with an extremely steep learning curve but thankfully it's an open and friendly one, and people have shared lots of knowledge with us.

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Johnny Rosenblatt
– Headspace Group


How did the idea of Headspace come to you?


I was working in the London commercial real estate and began to notice a a trend of a new breed of entrepreneurial businesses requiring total flexibility of space. They wanted an environment they were proud to call home and a community of like-minded companies they could collaborate with. I felt the market didn’t really service those needs, so figured I’d give it a shot.!


What do you like to wear for work?


I tend to choose my attire based on what my diary is looking like for the day. If I know I have lots of meetings I’ll dress up a little. Likewise, if I know I’m going to spend half the day on a building site, I’ll leave my finer rags at home.! The trick for me is having the perfect pair of good-fitting blue jeans. That way you can dress up with a blazer and shirt, or dress down with a good quality jumper.


What’s the best piece of career advice you would give as a successful entrepreneur?


One thing I learnt quickly is not to reinvent the wheel. If you can put a spin on an existing product/service, and do it better than the last guy, then you’re on the right track. Also if you want to achieve something, be bold. The worst someone can say is ‘no’.

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Kurt Stewart
– Volcano Coffee


How did the idea of Volcano Coffee come to you?


As a chef in London it became apparent that the coffee offering did not match the demanded standard of food – as far as provenance, sourcing and quality were concerned.


What do you like to wear for work?


I’ve always mixed it up – I've had the flexibility to do that throughout my career.Working long hours means I need to be able to present myself casually and formally with a moment’s notice, so I always have at least a shirt or jacket to help me carry that off. Therefore the functionality of a blazer is vital – I need it to be able to withstand hard physical work – and look good for a meal or meeting too.


What’s the best piece of career advice you would give as a successful entrepreneur?


Never hesitate to ask for advice and always be open to see the weakness in your skill set. But also, never be afraid to act on your instincts or carve your own path.

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Nathaniel Peat
– the Safety Box


How did the idea of The Safety Box come to you?


The idea of The Safety Box was born from the need to proactively address the growing concerns of antisocial behaviour and depression within our young people. After speaking with youth I found that many of them were increasingly becoming more apprehensive about their safety, so I wanted to do something about it.


What do you like to wear for work?


I normally wear a smart blazer over a shirt with the top two buttons undone, paired with jeans and some nice shoes. But if I’m at a corporate meeting, I like to wear a proper suit. I try to colour coordinate as best as possible too – minimalism seems to work well.


What’s the best piece of career advice you would give as a successful entrepreneur?


I would say to think about developing your network early on. I've found in later years that it’s is not about who you know, but rather who knows you. The level of your network determines the level of influence you have.

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