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Jonathan Ward on fashion

Program Part 1. I 've been up & I´ve been down. Now I´m back. A tumultuous journey through the waves of fashion. Part 2. Cyclical & Celebrity _ Fashion spikes captured in a snapshot glare.

Date/Time: 01 March 2018 14:00 - 01 March 2018 16:00

Venue: 8.10 Partners' room (8 floor) Newcastle University Business School 5 Barrack road NE1 4SE

Jonathan Ward has his own company "Jonathan Ward candles and fragrances". In the past he had been working in NY as the creative director of DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. He worked also for ten years in the cosmetic industry for Estee Lauder. See an article in Vogue and a part of his interview with Volt magazine. Volt Café: Jonathan, how did you first start out in the creative world? Jonathan Ward: It’s no secret that I come from a humble background up in good old South Shields, which is near Newcastle. I won a place at Kingston University to be on their sought after BA fashion course and was offered two jobs immediately upon graduating. One was at M&S for a paltry £14k a year. The other was in New York for a boutique firm that offered a phenomenal starting salary.

As a 22-year-old man with something to prove, I chose NYC. I ended up living there for ten years, but as I progressed up the career path to better and better positions, I moved further and further away from a creative career and seemed to spend 16 hour days at the office putting out emotional fires and arguing over thread colors for buttons! I made the decision to quit the fashion industry after 6 years to the absolute disdain and shock of most of my family and friends. They couldn’t quite believe that I would give up a life that from the outside looked like a dream world. I went from 6 figures a year to cleaning apartments, literally…! But I was making my own money (albeit cash in hand) and the first spark of entrepreneurial spirit took hold. Giving up the glitz meant I could try my hand at many creative pursuits, including styling assistant, photography and wardrobe management. I basically knew that as much as I loved clothing, ‘fashion’ wasn’t for me. As one of my part time jobs I helped a friend market her own line of Italian aromas and this really inspired me to form my first candle company. I didn’t know what I was doing, just pushed forward on raw creativity and nerve. I had no business sense and the company actually grew quite quickly, getting retail placement in Barneys among other prominent stores, but I was so inexperienced at projecting raw material requirements and distribution fulfillment that I couldn’t handle the growth and didn’t react quickly enough. The business didn’t fail as such, but it wasn’t sustainable. And my status in the US was contingent on the business succeeding! So I headed back to the UK, tail between legs but with a big fat storage unit of glass, essential oils and a rigid determination that this was destined to be something. And I couldn’t wait to do it right, having learned from my previous mistakes.