Katie Young Gerald is one of Hospitality’s leading fashion and uniform designers having set up her business, Bespoke Textiles in 2011.
She has worked with some of London’s leading entrepreneurial hospitality operations ranging from The Ivy Collection to Soho House, from The Hospital Club to The Royal Household, from the ACE Hotel to Bills – an impressive portfolio and understandable when one sees her passion for not just fashion but ethical sourcing and trade. She has literally travelled the world to find exceptional suppliers that allow her to be innovative and bring real care to her work.
“Yes, I have had a genuine passion for fashion since an early age and I believe that uniforms really do make a major difference in operations. It makes an instant statement to the customer or client and it also makes an important statement to the staff as to how important they are to the company. It is often understated but it does build pride and self-respect and makes people just walk that extra inch higher,” commented Katie.
Katie is a true entrepreneur but on in the charge over the hill, bang the table style that many relate to entrepreneurs. Katie is a very socially competent, demure lady that has become an entrepreneur as she genuinely cares that little more about her work and her clients. She is driven to find a high standard, to go the extra mile for her clients and to get the final product right and on budget. Often such characters are driven to found their own businesses as that way they are in control and can deliver as they see fit.
When one meets Katie, one is struck with how she engages and listens. She has that skill to ensure that the person talks and she will observe and take mental notes. Given all this it is no surprise to see her strong portfolio of clients that the company has worked with.
“As with any project, when a client outsources design to an outside party then trust is of course so important but trust is not just given. It comes with the client seeing first-hand how you behave and that the care with which one approaches a task. Of course we are under scrutiny from the start of any project so we are very open, transparent and honest as this builds trust that is needed “notes Katie.
Katie’s story began in Somerset where she grew up. She gained a BA Hons in fashion and textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University before she began her career in the industry with the prestigious British Brand, English Eccentrics in London where she worked for five years.
From 1997 – 1999 she moved to Hong Kong where she greatly expanded and her knowledge and connections in Far East sourcing, product development & consultancy for clients. This period of time clearly did have a profound effect on Katie as she will often talk and travel back to the region. She is well known for her expertise in sourcing and supply globally of luxury textiles, clothes and uniforms. She talks with pride about her trusted partnerships established in many cases for over 20 years that enable her to Source, Develop & Deliver 100,000’s of purpose lead, and unique textile items around the world every year.
“Great fashion design requires a number of skills, “noted Katie, “and requires real teamwork. One needs to of course understand the client’s vision, be able to advise what will work and will not, and then have the vision and creativity to develop a design that will inspire the client. Then one has to source the best materials from across the globe and this needs a whole network of fabulous partners and finally one has to work within budget and against an agreed timescale. It may sound obvious but this is where so many fall down. It is one of the most common criticisms – over budget, and late. However the real challenge with fashion is that it is subjective but so important. We all walk down the street every day and will note – silently to ourselves – those that just impress with their dress. A fashionable and well-presented person makes a statement that can cover many a flaw in another area; it is that bold a statement.”
“There are huge amounts of money today invested in restaurant designs and of course this is important but often the uniform is left to late in the day and yet it does make maybe the first real statement to a customer. It is a statement of intent that the customer is about to have a great experience”
She has recently published her 1 bestselling debut book, The Textile Touch, that chronicles her exciting journey through the fashion and textiles world, a go-to for all aspiring fashion and textile entrepreneurs. Katie is also in discussions to host a TV show inspiring entrepreneurs and creators to Customise, Source & Create showing where to go and what to do along the journey.
Katie is a rare character as she has a passion for her discipline that does make her stand apart. She is an independent spirit that is driven to raise the bar and to deliver something that does make a difference.