Fashion is in Otis Batterbee’s blood. From the 60s to the 90s, his family factory in the East End kept stores such as Harrods and Liberty fully stocked with the latest looks and after having established his own label in 2009, his influence continues to be strongly felt on the shelves and websites of London’s biggest department stores.
So what makes his new range of hugely successful women’s luxury beauty and travel accessories at Liberty stand out from the crowd? In a nutshell, its design, quality and price point. Having originally studied fashion at Central Saint Martins School of Art & Design, following graduation, Otis cut his teeth designing for a number of fashion houses and brands. He was then inspired to develop his own range after noticing a gap in the market for affordable luxurious accessories and, after launching his label seven years ago, it didn't take long for the likes of Liberty, Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason to take notice. “I hope there’s provenance to what we do which is about a convergence of quality and elements of luxury,” says Otis. “I hope I’m reaching out and creating a bond with my customers and pinpointing some sort of connection to their lifestyle.”
We caught up with Otis to find out more about his company, the ins and outs of his working day and what keeps him motivated and inspired, fit and fuelled from Monday through to Friday.
GTG: Hit the snooze button or up-and-at-em?
OB: Up-and-at-em. I get up every day at 6am - my pug Mr Julien ensures it. He dances around the bed every morning and won’t stop until I get out. My partner, Mr Julien and I all have breakfast together and then Mr Julien goes back to bed and we hit the gym.
GTG: What does your company do in under ten words?
OB: British lifestyle and accessories brand for men and women.
GTG: Best piece of work advice you ever had?
OB: Don’t waste your time on social media. I’m not sure I completely live by that though.
GTG: Name 3 things in your working week you love doing?
OB: 1) Designing is a huge part of my working week. We’re launching so many lines this year including our nightwear collection which launches at Harrods in July.
2) Travelling and the diversity of it. One day I could be in Italy at a trade show and the next at a box factory in Bradford.
3) Going to the shops! We’re not shy at Otis Batterbee, you’ll often find us in the stock room of Liberty or Harrods.
GTG: What are the 3 things you do every day before breakfast?
OB: Feed the dog, get in the shower and brush my teeth.
GTG: What do you love about your job?
OB: The diversity of it but predominantly it’s designing new product that I love the most. I learned so much more about design after St Martins.
GTG: What’s cooking for work lunch?
OB: Poached eggs and avocado smash on sourdough. Love it. If I’m out and about, then I’ll nip into The Providores in Marylebone for something delicious and healthy.
GTG: How do you stay organised?
OB: We have a meeting every Monday. At the meeting we go through everything from new collections to design and sales and marketing. I also have a little meeting with myself everyday so I know what I’m doing.
GTG: Describe your working style in 3 words?
OB: Creative, collaborative and a laugh.
GTG: Typical work attire?
OB: White Converse, white shirt, cashmere jumper, jeans, Thom Sweeney blazer.
GTG: Worst job you ever had?
OB: I was once in charge of the trimmings room for a big luxury fashion house in Paris. They didn’t like my playlist, I mean what’s not to love about Hear’Say?
GTG: Notepad or i-notes?
OB: Notepad, I don’t use a lot of technology. I have an iPhone which I can barely answer although I love Instagram – I can use that.
GTG: How do you fit fitness into your schedule and what are your favourite ways to exercise?
OB: I go to the gym for 45 minutes of cardio every morning. In the evening, I try and go back to the gym but it doesn’t always happen. If I’m in the UK I go spinning every Sunday. My spin class is run by the fiercest Irish woman and it’s the hardest spin class I have ever been to.
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