Fashion has to lead not to follow, but never lead too far.

“It’s all about chemistry. It’s all about getting a relationship going with people who understand your need and can really bring something valuable to the partnership.” 

Episode 3 of Word on the Street welcomes Craig Smith, former Digital Commerce Director of Ted Baker now, Interim Chief Customer Officer at Radley. He walks Katie through the three approaches he takes when onboarding a new agency partner – don’t be fooled, it’s not quite as you’d imagine!

They also cover the challenges in the fashion industry amidst Covid-19 and how being agile, open and adaptable as we step into this ‘new normal’ will be the difference between your brand sinking or thriving. 

Word on the Street is sponsored by Just After Midnight, supporting your websites and applications 24/7. They provide managed cloud, 24hr monitoring and support and DevOps. Get a month free here:

Links & references

Katie Street:

Street Agency:

Get in touch: [email protected]

Craig Smith:


Ted Baker:

Push Group:

Bazaar Voice:

Just After Midnight:

Episode highlights 

“Recognising you’ve got challenges in your business is one thing, but being able to then work out what it is you need to do in order is hard enough, but then also finding both the bandwidth and resourcing capability in your business might not exist, or might exist, but you haven’t really, you know, forced their hand or haven’t really gone after it or given them your unity, it’s a whole other thing.” – Craig Smith

“We have to give our customers more reason to engage with us over and above just the products and services we sell, and how we deliver the online experience and the physical store experience. So they’re already in that sort of mindset where they are more experimental anyway.” – Craig Smith

“So you’ve just got to have an openness and agile attitude in the business, which says, “It doesn’t matter what’s coming down the pipe, we’ll be ready for it, because that’s what we do. And that’s what we’re open to. And that’s what we enjoy the challenge of.” – Craig Smith

“More often than not, we sat around and said, “well, you know what, what’s the worst that can happen?” Let’s give it a go. Let’s find out. Let’s learn something about ourselves and the business and the brand. And, you know, digital and e commerce were part of that. It was an experimentation.” – Craig Smith

“The secret is fashion has to lead not to follow, but never to lead too far. Because if you do go too far too quickly, you leave your core audience behind and unfortunately, sometimes they just won’t be able to catch up right?” – Craig Smith

“You can actually start to see and recognise who your true customers are, who your valuable customers are, who your invaluable customers are, and that should inform your entire customer strategy, which in turn should inform product design decisions, buying decisions, colour decisions, market decisions, distribution decisions, etc.” – Craig Smith

“I like personal recommendations and I like peer recommendations. There’s a lot of pressure on them, offering up people who are really good and no one wants to offer someone to a friend who’s no good because it makes you look a bit silly, right?” – Craig Smith