Chief executive, OKA Direct

What was your first job in retailing?

Starting my own business, Annabel Jones, in 1969. It became an internationally known and unique small London-based brand, designing and selling jewellery for women to buy for themselves. It kick-started the trend for gem and gold jewellery design that was an affordable and chic accessory.

Which retail company do you admire most and why?

I like Anya Hindmarch for its brilliant designs, and Hermès for its constancy and clear understanding of quality. Hermès is uncompromising towards fashion fads and has always had confidence in itself. English brands such as Burberry have also been great at reinventing themselves.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

My inability to switch off.

Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?

My fellow directors Lucinda Waterhouse and Sue Jones. We co-founded OKA in 1999, each bringing different skills. We work very closely together and draw inspiration from our collective experiences.

What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?

Watch the cash flow, go with your instincts and learn by your mistakes.

What keeps you awake at night?

My three Jack Russells.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

We regularly visit our suppliers overseas and experiencing the different cultures inspires many of our product ranges.

What’s your proudest achievement?

I don’t think I am proud of anything that I have done as I could always have done better.

What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?

I am not sure there is anything else as I just love selling.

What’s your favourite shop and why?

OKA’s flagship store in Chelsea.

What was your last purchase?

We’ve opened a concession in Selfridges, so I expect it was something from there.

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