Karen Radley is the founder of the UK’s leading womenswear trade show SCOOP. Her show is famous for showcasing some of the finest brands in the UK and internationally with everything from ready-to-wear and accessories collections to lifestyle brands being exhibited every year at the iconic Saatchi Gallery in London. It is definitely one of MERCER7’s favourite shows to visit. Not only it is always beautifully presented, but also very inspiring and welcoming.
MERCER7 had the opportunity to interview Karen and ask a few questions about her career background, lifestyle and how she built such an impressive Show from the ground up. Follow Karen’s journey on Scoop’s website or instagram.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CAREER BACKGROUND PRIOR TO LAUNCHING SCOOP? Before starting Scoop I had a multi-faceted career in the fashion industry, working across the manufacturing, retail and design sectors. My father had a clothing business in London called Radley and I cut my cloth as it were working with him in the sales department then moving across to manufacturing before running Quorum where I got chance to work with incredible designers including Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark. Celia and Ossie were inspirational to me and I was very lucky to work closely with them for many years…and was fortunate to have input in to Ossie’s retrospective exhibition at the V&A in 2003.
“Never compromise – always believe in yourself.” – KAREN RADLEY
HOW DID THE IDEA OF CREATING A TRADE SHOW COME ABOUT?
I was an agent for a premium contemporary clothing brand and could not find a suitable trade show in the UK to exhibit. I wanted to inspire retailers and buyers to support young brands that were doing new and innovative collections and there just weren’t the platforms showcasing any brands of this sort.
WE LOVE THE ETHOS AND THE CONCEPT OF SCOOP LONDON OF SHOWCASING EMERGING DESIGNERS AND BRANDS. WHAT IS YOUR SELECTION PROCESS? I base it purely on design, quality and innovation and not on pricing. Also the mix has to be right for Scoop, you can’t have too many similar brands exhibiting as it becomes monotonous for buyers and they won’t return. Scoop is a platform to bring established and emerging designers and UK and international buyers under one roof within a beautiful location. We are very lucky to have the stunning Saatchi Gallery as our venue for Scoop and this also helps to attract the right audience.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
I think launching Scoop in February 2011 has definitely been the highlight as I feel it’s a great achievement that has made a difference in the fashion retail industry.
AS A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS WOMAN, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE UP-AND-COMING FASHION DESIGNERS AND CREATIVES OUT THERE? Never compromise – always believe in yourself. If you are a creative and need help with the business side of the company make sure that you work with someone you trust and enjoy working with…it’s difficult to juggle all the elements that are needed to make a successful business so don’t to be scared to ask for help from the experts.
IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT, WHAT WOULD YOU BUY?
A home by the sea, I love living in London but sometimes it would be lovely to escape to the cost with my dog and enjoy some fresh air.
WHICH DESIGNERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT SCOOP?
I am very excited about our collaboration with Villoid, Alexa Chung’s online curated retail platform, they will be bringing 4 emerging designers to the show to exhibit