Ted Baker was clearly on trend last year. Today the fashion brand said its pre-tax profits were up 20.3% to £58.7m, in the 52 weeks to 10 January, on the back of a 17.7% surge in revenues. With stores stretching as far and wide as Azerbaijan and Hawaii, it has certainly come a long way from its beginnings in 1988 as a shirt shop in Glasgow.
So what motivated Ray Kelvin, the company’s publicity-shy founder and chief executive, to turn it into the big listed FTSE 250 business it is today? He spills all in the latest in Antidote’s Dare Mighty Things series. ‘I was a bit of an underdog and I loved my mum and dad so much that I think that spurred me on to be a success,’ he says. ‘Once I got started it was the fear of failure. That keeps you on your toes doesn’t it, so you’re never, ever complacent.
‘The secret of fashion, as Ted once said to me, is to lead not to follow - but never to lead too far. It’s another fear factor, that if you don’t push it then you could be yesterday’s news. You have to be relevant.’