Coco Business Inspiration : St James of London

 It was the dawning of a new era in 1953, when all of Great Britain had raised itself up from the ruins of the second World War and young Queen symbolized peace and prosperity. This time, often referred to as the Elizabethan age gave way to much progress, innovation and a new way of life, one of euphoria and confidence. Born from these changes was a new breed of English Gentleman. He was sporty, international, dashing, and daring yet extremely well-groomed at all times.

St James of London is a brand brought back to life by it’s founder, Todd Fisher. We spent some time with him to find out more…

When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
The St James of London brand was originally created in 1953 and for unknown reasons, disappeared for nearly 50+ years.  It wasn’t until I acquired the brand in 2013, St James of London was officially re-launched with two collections late summer of 2014.  One collection is and was the original from 1953 (Cedarwood & Clarysage).  The impetus for acquiring St James of London is three-fold:  First, I love the fragrance and grooming consumer space, especially all-natural aspects.  Secondly, I’m a big fan of all things British (I’m American) and have worked in the UK market for a large part of my career.  And lastly, for some time now, I’ve had an entrepreneurial side which I’ve been looking to explore, so when the opportunity arose to acquire St James of London, the timing of it was spot-on perfect.

Whats your background?
I’ve spent the majority of my career in the sporting goods industry, specifically tennis consumer products with brands like Reebok and Wilson Sporting Goods.  I’ve always had a passion for tennis so it was a natural fit and over the years, my experience has evolved from sales, operations, product marketing to running divisions globally.  I traveled extensively around the world and at times, would spend more time in other countries than I did in the U.S.  My travels over the years exposed me to a myriad of cultures and consumer markets which has certainly helped craft my brand in many respects today.  Despite the heavy travel back then, I loved it and still do as I thoroughly enjoy meeting clients.  Ironically, my first International trip was to the UK, perhaps it was then where my passion for British brands and culture took root.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
We’re a small group located either at the office or warehouse.  Aside from myself, there’s a customer service manager, finance director and two others who work at the warehouse.  We’re quite lean but growing and I expect we’ll be staffing-up in the coming year.

If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
Specifically with the business, no, however, I do wish I would have explored my entrepreneurial passion earlier in life.  I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason and that’s certainly been the case throughout my career and most certainly with St James of London.  Being younger and entrepreneurial has its benefits which I can appreciate more now than since I’m older going through it.

What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Managing my own expectations is the first thing that comes to mind.  Starting a business from a base of zero, both sales and customers, there’s no playbook that guides you so you’re on your own.  Unlike working for an established business, there’s a history of what’s worked and what hasn’t, but for a new start-up, its unchartered territory and you figure it out as you go.   There are days where I think I’ve got a lock on things and other days where that feeling is completely polar-opposite.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
As a young teen, I was very fortunate to have a mentor who taught me philanthropy.  The direct exposure to and engagement with at-risk youth opened my eyes to a completely new world I had never known existed.  It was through this involvement that planted a seed I’ve quietly cultivated over the years.  I hold the strong belief businesses, regardless of size should give back to their communities to help fellow citizens, organizations, etc.  This is something I desire to do more of as SJOL becomes larger as our backyard extends well beyond our own country borders.

2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand? 
We’ll be introducing a new fragrance this year which is exciting as we’ve been working on it for a year and half.

To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Watching the St James of London brand rapidly expand its footprint around the world.

Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
London without a doubt!

Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Super large shaving brush + St James of London Mandarin & Patchouli Shave Cream + Cologne.  Love all the fragrances, but really enjoy this one.

Style means….?
Putting your own individual spin on something.  Being creative is awesome & fun so do your thing, create your style and own it.

Best thing about London to you?
Far too much to mention, but always enjoy the inspiration I absorb when I visit London.  Inspiration comes in all forms, but I love the times when walking Central London, I go into sensory overload trying to take it all in.

Statement shoe or statement bag?
I appreciate vintage Tennis trainers, but statement shoe would be Michael Toschi slip-ons.

If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
One of my dad’s plaid sportcoats

Favourite love song?
Michael Buble “Everything”

Best place for a coffee?
Ladurée Champs Elysées, Paris France

Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
“The best success is usually the one you risk the most to achieve”

Guilty pleasure? 
Gourmet Cheeseburger + Glass of Cabernet

If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Enjoying fresh Fish Tacos at the Grand Wailea Resort, Maui

In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
Without revealing too much, the goal is to tap into other passions and expand the breadth of the brand.

Find out more…

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